The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) could be cooking up something to turn ordinary men into super soldiers, similar to Marvel comics' Steve Rogers. DARPA is set to spend $65 million on a new technology that could “erase” unwanted genes to create super soldiers, among other things.
According to Dr. Wegrzyn, the manager of the Safe Genes program, although “it is difficult to draw a line between ethics and technology development when it comes to gene editing,” the program could help future research on DNA engineering.
The Safe Genes program involves seven teams – including Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital – working together to develop the technology.
DARPA unveils gene editing infrastructure to build genetically engineered “super soldiers”
(Natural News) According to the official website for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), “The Safe Genes program aims to deliver novel biological capabilities to facilitate the safe and expedient pursuit of advanced genome editing applications, while also providing the tools and methodologies to mitigate the risk of unintentional consequences or intentional misuse of these technologies.”
Recently, DARPA announced that it has assigned seven teams to fulfill the goals set forth by the Safe Genes Program in order to better understand how gene editing technologies work. If all goes well, the program could potentially help troops become immune from infectious disease, defend certain forms of wildlife against invasive species, and limit the spread of mosquitoes that carry diseases (Related: Genetically modified humans are now a reality in China.)
Over the next four years, DARPA is set to distribute $65 million amongst the seven teams, which include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside.
DARPA says that each of these seven teams will pursue at least one of three overarching objectives, which includes: 1) the development of technology that can initiate and reverse genome editors inside of living organisms, 2) the development of drug-based countermeasures as a means of limiting the genome editing process in order to maintain genome integrity, and 3) develop technology that can erase unwanted genes and bring them back to their original state.
“Part of our challenge and commitment under Safe Genes is to make sense of the ethical implication of gene editing technologies, understanding people’s concerns and directing our research to proactively address them so that stakeholders are equipped with data to inform future choices,” said Dr. Wegrzyn, the manager of the Safe Genes program.
Image courtesy of: blaneyphoto.