ISRAEL - Gene Editing May Cause Permanent Damage

Arno Froese

Scientists at Tel Aviv University (TAU) warn that while the CRISPR genome-editing method is very effective, it is not always safe and that sometimes, rearranging pieces of DNA compromises genomic stability, possibly triggering cancer in the long run.

CRISPR-Cas9 was adapted from a naturally occurring genome-editing system that bacteria use as an immune defense. When infected with viruses, bacteria capture small pieces of the viruses’ DNA and insert them into their own DNA in a particular pattern to create segments known as CRISPR arrays.

The research was led by Dr. Adi Barzel from the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics at TAU’s Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and Dotan Center for Advanced Therapies, and by Dr. Asaf Madi and Dr. Uri Ben-David from TAU’s Faculty of Medicine and the Safra Center for Bioinformatics, in collaboration with Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

The Israeli researchers sought to examine whether the potential benefits of CRISPR therapeutics might be offset by risks resulting from the cleavage itself, assuming that broken DNA is not always able to recover. 

Ben-David and his research associate Eli Reuveni explained that “the genome in our cells often breaks due to natural causes, but usually it is able to repair itself, with no harm done. Still, sometimes a certain chromosome is unable to bounce back, and large sections or even the entire chromosome are lost. Such chromosomal disruptions can destabilize the genome, and we often see this in cancer cells. Thus, CRISPR therapeutics, in which DNA is cleaved intentionally as a means for treating cancer, might, in extreme scenarios, actually promote malignancies.”

“…As scientists we are quite proud of our approach, because we believe that this is the very essence of science: we don’t choose sides. We examine all aspects of an issue, both positive and negative, and look for answers,” they added., 24 July 2022

Arno's Commentary

There is no end in sight to medical science discovering new ways to interfere with the building blocks incorporated by our Creator.

Quite naturally, they are extremely cautious in their assessment. Dr. Barzel makes this clear, “We examine all aspects of an issue, both positive and negative, and look for answers.” 

There is much debate within the religious community about the limits of medical science, but we cannot deny its almost mind-boggling success. Life expectancy continues to rise globally. shows global life expectancy in 1950 was 49 years; in 2020, it had risen to 72 years. Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Switzerland, and Singapore make up the top 5 in the world. The richest countries seem to be the ones with the longest life expectancy. 

As Bible believers, we carefully take note that many among the world’s population are surpassing the Biblical expiration date, being set at 70 to 80 years of age. Some 3,000 years ago, Moses prayed: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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