The Intercept says that In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit venture capital firm funded by the CIA, just joined Peter Thiel and Winklevoss Capital in giving money to Colossla Biosciences. This company wants to clone Woolly Mammoths.
Some people are quick to point out that even if this technology is used in the best way possible, it won’t lead to woolly mammoth petting zoos:
(I think we should stop making fun of fat hair elephants, but I’m getting off topic.)
So why are people all of a sudden interested in Ice Age animals and lotion? So why the hell not? The CIA has always been interested in weird pseudo-science stuff. In-Q-Tel even spends money on skin care products. The Woolly Mammoths, on the other hand, might have been more useful: CRISPR-Cas9 makes it possible to collect DNA data. The Intercept says:
Let me say, once again, that mammoths cannot be resurrected. You will get super hairy elephants with extra fat deposits. Period the end. Stop confusing Jurassic Park with the way things are in 2022. https://t.co/2vCqx0aSKk
— Dr. Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) September 28, 2022
“COLOSSAL uses a method of genetic engineering called CRISPR gene editing. This method is based on a type of DNA sequence found in nature. CRISPR SEQUENCES ARE ALREADY PRESENT IN SOME BACTERIAL CELLS AND ACT AS AN IMMUNE DEFENSE SYSTEM, ALLOWING THE CELL TO DETECT AND REMOVE VIRUS MATERIAL THAT TRIES TO INVADE. The EPONYMOUS GENE EDITING TECHNIQUE WAS MADE TO WORK THE SAME WAY, LETTING USERS CUT OUT UNWANTED GENES AND PROGRAM A BETTER VERSION OF THE GENETIC CODE.”
According to In-Q-blog Tel’s post, adopting this technology will help U.S. government agencies read, write, and edit genetic material and, more importantly, steer global biological phenomena that affect “nation-to-nation competition” while allowing the U.S. “to help set the ethical as well as the technical standards” for its use.
The Intercept asked IN-Q-TEL for comment, but they didn’t answer.
The Intercept article has a lot more exciting information about CRISPR and the CIA’s interest in other controversial biotechnologies.
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