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Scientists Use CRISPR to Edit out Negative Memories in Rats
 /  Last Modified: April 2, 2020

Researchers at Peking University pulled off an astounding medical feat by deleting memories from rats. The CRISPR process could be used on subjects to treat PTSD and addiction.

This high-risk gene editing might be eligible to try out on mammal subjects with neurological disorders. They managed to successfully remove rats’ negative memories.

It could be used for CRISPR efforts to cure memory-related disorders like chronic stress, addiction, and PTSD, reports Yi Ming, one of Interesting Engineering’s co-authors. He acknowledges that these specific memories, although regarded as negative, are absolutely necessary for survival in the long run. However, when a person emphasizes on them and takes them into high focus, it’s unhealthy and may trigger common disorders.

The CRISPR studies and research are almost always met with ethical inquiries and moral areas. When do we know if we cross a certain line in natural processes in the human mind? It’s true that our memories, good or bad, are completely natural. Modifying valuable components might be damaging in the long run, and could be regarded as dehumanizing.

Besides that, many other questions are immediately opened – how will the CRISPR researchers decide which memories to delete? Do they succeed in deleting the correct segment, or do they remove a whole remembered experience altogether? What about editing genes to affect valuable memories and knowledge? No information is given on how CRISPR utilizes this process and how memories are selected.

This tricky practice might be for the better to treat psychological disorders. However, it should be taken with high caution and reluctancy.

We still have no info yet on the process of memory targeting. The CRISPR treatment is closing in on becoming a common practice, though it still needs much more evaluation. We will need to make sure that proper safety measures should be conducted to further perfect the process and avoid unwanted changes in a subject’s memory.

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