Gene therapy gets huge boost

Unbelievable. Our great-grandchildren may one day be able to access genetic information from their long-dead ancestors and use it to correct undesirable genes of their own. Experiments with, for example, the mustard weed, indicate that plants have a molecular “memory” of ancestral genetic code they can actually copy from—seemingly as they reproduce—to correct their own DNA sequences. Now researchers speculate they may one day identify a similar treasure trove in human beings—and find ways to copy code that will replace that of broken, mutant, or just-plain-unwanted genes—including those that trigger cancer and other ravaging diseases.

Imagine if we could eventually eliminate disease by becoming wholly self-repairing creatures? Wow. What the hell would we do with all those healthy people in a world that’s already groaning under the weight of our staggering use—and abuse—of its natural resources? And/or what new afflictions might come along to replace disease as nature’s way to control populations?

Oh, we’ll find a way, I’m sure. But it might be a bumpy road for a while.