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As we all know, our bodies are governed by genes which control just about everything about our body. Be it our physical appearance or resistance to diseases or intelligence (much debated) or inner functioning, every damn thing is controlled by our genes. It is said that if we can control genes we can control course of evolution. It is like riding car of evolution, human species being driver, passenger being earth and genes as its steering wheel.
It has been scientifically proven that every cell in our body has a type of biological clock called telomere. This clock tells cell when to stop dividing. If a cell is unable to reproduce then new cells are not born, hence our body dies. This is called ageing. The scientists today are trying to edit genes thus instructing cells to make longer telomere or altogether abandon concept of telomere which can result in indefinite life span. If scientists are ever able to achieve this then it could bring a revolution. Then we’ll be able to keep body deteriorating effects of age at a bay and enjoy full energetic life of youth at age of 100. But even then, job would be half done.
The next front of battle would be ‘Diseases’. Even if we’re able to live up to 100 or more then what will keep our body protected from all those silly disease causing agents? The current method of medication will become useless very soon as more and more virus, bacteria, etc. are developing immunity against our body mechanism and medicines. The fact that these agents mutate very rapidly makes them survive longer and longer. But humans have not changed at all. We are not able to mutate/change naturally as rapidly as these agents. So, it proves to be a disadvantage to us.
One way to get over this issue is to change our genes artificially. As a positive note complete human genome has been mapped and now it is duty of genetic engineers to make use of it and find a way to develop a fool-proof mechanism against these agents. Once we do this we can have very own personalized medicines or would be requiring no medicines at all. The personalized medicines will work in coordination with our immunity system. It would change immunity system to make it capable of immunizing us to all new pathogens which our body does not know of. Then slowly, according to survival of fittest, all pathogens will be wiped out of existence.
The infinite life span raises many ethical questions. Also, genetic engineering has raised moral/ethical issues world wide. But it is for socialists and politicians to sort out these issues. Scientists only know one way, which is future. No matter how hard these politicians try to prevent them from achieving this but one day or other they will achieve this. And then we will live indefinitely and who knows this breakthrough might happen within our lifetime. And after that, we see Indian soccer team win FIFA world cup in 2147 AD.
Paras Chopra was born in Patiala, Punjab, India on 3rd June 1987. His interests lie in subjects ranging from Nanotechnology to Biotechnology to Artificial Intelligence. His goal in life is to achieve immortality.
Visit him at: www.paraschopra.com