How This Man Changed His DNA

How This Man Changed His DNA


It was so much easier to commit crimes in
the Seventies. Why do you think it was a heyday for serial
killers like the Zodiac Killer, John Wayne Gacy, and David Berkowitz? Incidentally, forensic DNA testing first successfully
solved a criminal case in 1986. Dr. Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist, used
genetic fingerprinting to solve a pair of sexually-motivated murders in Leicester, UK. After this breakthrough, other crime scene
investigators across the globe started to see similar success with these scientific
methods. For aspiring criminals, it was all downhill
from there. But that’s not gonna be you. No, you’re a different class of ne’er-do-well. People always told you that crime doesn’t
pay. Really? Pablo Escobar was spending $2,500 a month
on rubber bands to keep the rest of his money together. And forensic DNA testing? No biggie. There are ways around that. You’d heard stories of criminals filing
off or altering their fingerprints to get away with their dastardly deeds, but can you
do the same with your DNA? Think your DNA is as unchangeable as your
eye colour? We regret to inform you that you’re dead
wrong on that one. And if you’re really serious about taking
on a criminal career, you better listen close and consider your options. Before we proceed, here’s a quick science
lesson about what exactly DNA is. If you’re a fan of Jurassic Park, the phrase
“the building blocks of life” probably jumped to mind, and you wouldn’t really
be wrong. The actual DNA acronym is short for Deoxyribonucleic
acid – its structure is the famous double-helix, formed of two chemical strands called nucleotides,
and held together by four chemical bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and
guanine (G). DNA essentially stores the information for
the development of your body. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way,
let’s get back to changing your DNA for fun and profit. Particularly of the criminal variety. First, you think, “Well, I better check
and see how people have done this on purpose in the past.” So, you begin your research, and suddenly,
you’re seeing the name Josiah Zayner everywhere. Who is this guy, calling himself a “biohacker”? And furthermore, what the heck is a biohacker? That sounds like something straight out of
Blade Runner. Well, our morally dubious friend, biohacking
is a practical branch of the transhumanism movement. Biohackers are people who practice self-experimentation
with the aim of improving their biology through science. You may hear this and start picturing Resident
Evil-style super-mutations, or elaborate cybernetic enhancements like robotic limbs and AI-assisted
brains. While this kind of thing is on the mind of
some biohackers, many methods of biohacking are simpler, DIY systems of body and mind
improvement. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, praises the curative
powers of drinking “salt juice” and fasting. Other biohackers heavily moderate their sleeping
or exercise habits to achieve desired results. Some dabble in simple cybernetic enhancements,
like chips or even subcutaneous lights. On the more extreme end of things, you’ve
got Silicon Valley investors interested in Young Blood Transfusions. These are, as the name suggests, older individuals
receiving regular blood transfusions from young, healthy donors to preserve their youth
and vitality. So, I guess vampires are real after all? Anyway, back to Mr. Josiah Zayner, a biohacker
who claims to have successfully changed his DNA. You eagerly read into the story, hoping that
with his simple method, you’ll be bankrolling the Escobar dollars in no time. Who is this man, and what exactly did he do
to change his DNA? Zayner is a life-long devotee of the biohacking
movement. The 38-year-old former-NASA employee believes
science and technology are the best paths to unlocking the true potential of the human
body, and – as a testament to his beliefs – he uses himself as a guinea pig. While his more recent stunts include injecting
his arm with modified CRISPR DNA in hopes of stimulating muscle growth – you bookmark
that for later – of real interest to you is Zayner’s full-body microbiome transplant
in 2016. For the record, the microbiome is a term for
the ecology of microbes in your body. Josiah Zayner had been plagued by gastrointestinal
issues his whole life, and so decided to treat this with a fecal matter transplant. What exactly is a fecal matter transplant,
you wonder? While fecal matter transplants are an accepted
medical treatment, Josiah Zayner’s take on the treatment involved using antibiotics
to eliminate his gut bacteria (don’t try this at home) and then ingesting samples of
his friend’s feces to replace said bacteria (don’t try that at home, either.) However, at least according to Zayner’s
self-reporting, the treatment did change his life for the better. His home-grown DNA sequencing confirmed that
he had indeed changed his gut microbiome. Between oddball treatments like fecal matter
transplants and injecting CRISPR DNA, you could become a whole new person. In the words of Zayner himself, “This is
the first time in human history that we’re no longer stuck with the genes we had at birth.” That being said, Zayner kind of lost you at
the “ingesting his friend’s feces” part. I mean, you want to start collecting your
ill-gotten gains, but not quite that badly. There has to be non-gross ways of changing
your DNA, right? The search goes on. While researching more methods of evading
forensic DNA detection, you find you’re seeing the words “gene therapy” an awful
lot. You also see the story of Brian Madeux, a
44-year-old man from Phoenix, Arizona, who was treated for his enzyme-inhibiting genetic
disease with gene-editing liquid. The disease was costing Brian hundreds of
thousands of dollars in treatment costs every single year, without even really providing
him a better quality of life. Thanks to gene-editing, his chances of recovery
have never been better. Sandy Macrae, the CEO of the company responsible
for Brian’s therapy, explained the process as follows: “We cut your DNA, open it up,
insert a gene, stitch it back up. Invisible mending. It becomes part of your DNA and is there for
the rest of your life.” Gene editing as a treatment for genetic disease
has become increasingly mainstream over the last several years, thanks to advances in
science and technology in this area. In late 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration
approved Luxterna, a drug capable of altering the patient’s DNA. Specifically, Luxterna treats a rare form
of hereditary genetic blindness. Much like Josiah Zayner’s CRISPR dosages,
Luxtrerna is injected, so it isn’t the kind of thing you can obtain without a serious
prescription. Scott Gottlieb, who was the FDA chairman at
the time, said that he expected the benefits of new gene therapy treatments to increase
exponentially. Much like the criminal enterprise you’re
hoping to start once you figure out this whole “DNA Thing” – the gene therapy industry
has opened up new markets for entrepreneurs. A huge number of medicine and software start-ups
focused around supporting gene therapy have sprung up in the last few years, such as Insilico
Medicine in Latvia and Paradigm Diagnostics in Phoenix. Over time, it’s possible that gene therapy
could be as common as chemo and radiotherapy in treating genetic cancers. Emerging gene-editing treatments include Strimvelis,
which treats dangerous auto-immune diseases. Kymriah treats leukemia in children by fighting
cancer cells. And the aforementioned CRISPR – which stands
for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats – hopes to simply edit
disease out of human genomes. Someday, when suffering from previously incurable
genetic diseases, you’ll be spoiled for choice with which gene therapy treatment to
choose. Sounds good for people suffering from genetic
diseases, but not all that useful for avoiding the police. You probably need a diagnosis and much better
health insurance to change your DNA through gene therapy. Next option! So, you ask yourself: Are there any cheaper
ways of doing this? What are some of the other things that can
alter your DNA? After more meticulous research, you find some
answers. In 2017, food company Nestle convened a huge
group of five-hundred-and-fifty scientists to research the links between nutrition and
epigenetics – or, the field of study concerning the links between gene expression and external
or biological factors. They found evidence that modifying your diet
can, in fact, impact the gene expression of you and your children. Adequate and balanced nutrition can help prevent
the presentation of certain genetic diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s. This can go both ways, as poor food and drink
intake can actively encourage negative gene expression. For example, a study conducted by the scientific
journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that chronic binge drinking
can cause alcohol dependency on a genetic level. So, it’s best to be mindful of what you
put into your body, because your genes certainly will. However, epigenetics is a lot more complicated
than a simple one-to-one correlation between diet and gene expression. Countless factors can play into this: Among
them are stress, exercise, and childhood experience. Harvard researchers have found that mice observed
under chronic stress experienced epigenetic modifications towards stress disorders and
mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia. A similar phenomenon has been recorded in
humans. In 2016, a study in Mount Sinai hospital found
that epigenetic stress can be inherited, as the descendants of Holocaust survivors experienced
higher rates of stress disorders than the general population. An epigenetic study from Northwestern University
Professor Thom McDade found that one’s childhood environment can modify genetic expression
in adulthood, particularly in terms of developing genetic diseases. He discovered that certain childhood conditions
in his sample group – such as being in a low socioeconomic group, prolonged parental
absence, and microbe exposure – could affect the child’s future levels of inflammation. This inflammation would, in turn, be the trigger
for the development of other conditions, such as some cancers. This all shows that gene expression is a lot
more malleable than you might imagine. However…there’s a catch. As always. While epigenetic factors can affect gene expression,
they don’t cause any permanent structural changes to the DNA itself. In other words: You can eat, drink, and subject
yourself to as much stress as you like, your DNA will still be identifiably yours under
any forensic procedure. So, it’s back to the drawing board. Again. You’re wracking your devious criminal mind
here, wondering why it’s so darn hard to change your DNA. I mean, in your research, you even found that
some people managed to fundamentally alter their DNA by accident. Some people get all the luck. People like Chris Long. Chris Long is an IT worker from Nevada who
underwent a bone marrow transplant in hopes of treating his nasty case of acute myeloid
leukemia. His donor was an unidentified man from Germany,
whom Long would become extremely close with in a truly unexpected way. How, exactly? It’s because the DNA present in Chris Long’s
semen is not his own – It’s his donor’s. While other samples of DNA taken from Chris,
such as cheek swabs and blood samples, still registered as his DNA, his semen only displayed
the donor DNA. Why? At this stage, nobody is quite sure. Though if someone like Chris committed a crime
with a sexual element, forensic science would not be able to trace the crime back to him
– unless, of course, they were aware of the condition in the first place. It presents a terrifying precedent for the
future of forensic science now that this is a possibility. However, seeing as you can’t volunteer for
a bone marrow transplant without suffering from blood or bone cancer, you’re not gonna
have much luck here. DNA is starting to feel like more trouble
than it’s worth. Seeing as it’s so hard to change your DNA,
wouldn’t it just be easier to get rid of it entirely? Would such a thing even be possible? Well, yes, but it’s not something you’d
like to experience. One horrific example is the last eighty-three
days of the life of Hisashi Ouchi, a 35-year-old Japanese lab tech who worked in the Tokaimura
Nuclear Power Plant. During a mishap with a dangerous quantity
of Uranium, Hisashi Ouchi and some other technicians were exposed to lethal doses of gamma radiation. Unfortunately for Hisashi, he survived the
incident, even after taking 17 Sieverts of radiation. For context on the significance of this, 8
Sieverts is considered a lethal dose. Hisashi experienced quite possibly the largest
amount of radiation experienced by any living human being. In an infamous question of scientific ethics,
he was kept alive for 83 days while scientists tested the effects of the radiation on his
rapidly and horrifically degrading body. Thankfully, he was at least in a medically-induced
coma until his eventual death. The radiation poisoning Hisashi suffered from
was said to be so severe that it completely eliminated his DNA. With all this in mind, you think to yourself,
maybe this DNA thing is best left alone. Perhaps I’m more suited to something in
retail. Unless you’re a professional scientist,
you probably shouldn’t be trying to change your DNA. But nobody’s stopping you from changing
your mind for the better. Why not check out some of our other videos
on genetics – like “These Gene Mutations Gave Some People Superpowers” or “When
Royal Inbreeding Went Horribly Wrong.” You can trust us. Making interesting videos is in our DNA.

100 thoughts on “How This Man Changed His DNA”

  1. didn’t they do this in a James Bond movie I believe it was die another day this North Korean changed his DNA so he would look like this Russian dude it was pretty wild

  2. If you guys want to know more about this topic with Josiah Zayner, biohackers, and whatnot check Unnatural Selection on Netflix. It's a documentary explaining CRISPR and gene therapy, even Josiah Zayner makes an appearance as a "main character".

  3. Dude, in class I learn these things like a week before a video from you is made about that subject. (Last week was about genetic engineering.

  4. Can we make a human hybrid creature with changing 🧬 DNA. We have the liger which is the hybrid of 🦁 lion and tiger🐅. Like that could humans also create a hybrid?

  5. The german doctor isn't really german or a doctor but secretly a crime fighting billionaire.
    🦇 👨 beyond.

  6. Astronauts who have been in space for a prolonged amount of time DNA has changed. There was even one astronaut who went to space who had a twin brother who was not an astronaut and didn’t go into space and now his DNA is different from his twin brothers….. Google it

  7. Nestlé CEO says: "Water is NOT a human right"
    Remember this next time, when you want to buy a Nestlé product again…

  8. I clicked from this video, have no clue what it's about but I'm kind of hoping it's but the dude who changed his body by using a virus so that he wouldn't be lactose intolerant anymore

  9. This video was a trainreck…. Saying nothing more than rumors as fact? Most of these are pretty sketchy and at best, questionable. Plus, there isn’t just one singular gene for everything and editing just something that seems harmless can have disastrous effects down the road.

  10. The infographics show isn't going to show a way to change dna to evade forensics but criminals will get a hold of gene modifying tools and well you know… the cops and the robbers are always at odds with each-other. the infographics show isn't willing to help criminals but criminals will find a way. there is a way to become antimatter too. its dangerous though. the antimatter made in CERN lab is super-symmetrical and also we may end up with indestructible germs and someone will get the indestructible immune system as well. evolution in all regards is happening its not fake. think about it, our universe is one generation away from super-symmetry

  11. The YouTube channel Thought Emporium actually used the Gene replacement method to remove his lactose intolerance from his at home lab.

  12. Getting away with crime back in the 70s was easier than today just look at Scooby-Doo terrorize a whole town with nothing but a rubber mask

  13. This episode seem different to anybody else? Like, not bad different. Maybe it’s the animation or maybe it’s writing… I can’t quite put my finger on it… but it’s somehow, different?

  14. FBI: we’re adding everyone who watched this video. We’re also gonna see who researches how to change dna.

  15. So this guy “allegedly” changed his DNA and ALL DNA life works for ALL evolution? No? Than he just injected a new “diseased chromosome” than changed his entire DNA

  16. As soon as I saw the front cover of this video it reminded me of the 12th doctor in doctor who, who possibly change DNA by regenerating (I think, don't quote me on this).

  17. What if you collect a bunch of DNA on a door handle in a public area, PCR them and spray the crime scene with it?

  18. You also can change your eye color,or change shades if you already have green or blue eyes.
    It happens to those raw vegans. It's because there's something they aren't eating and the lack of it makes their eyes become a lighter color. Either a lighter brown or green/blue.
    I would've had it happen but I couldn't take being a vegan for a long time.
    It was making me feel better. But I had to eat so much more food I couldn't take it,my entire life started to revolve around eating. And I wasn't down with that.
    I think that's why vegans are so obsessed with veganism. Like an herbivore you've gotta spend all day eating massive amounts of plants.
    But now that I just eat mostly whole foods,meat and veggies. I eat once a day sometimes I eat twice.

  19. In other words that cutting thing is what we call polymerase chain reaction (pcr) mostly used on forensics

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