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Novel Bioengineering Approaches
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

2.2.3Novel Bioengineering Approaches

Advances in nanotechnology will be necessary to help deliver editing cargo beyond easy-to-access tissue (such as blood cells) and to devise methods for tracking and controlling edited cells in vivo. Lipid, gold and polymer-based nanoparticles are now in development. For the time being, nonviral delivery is being tested in vivo in animals. Synthetic circuits are being engineered to turn off editors inside the cell if they are going off-track. This strategy could drastically limit immune reaction. Nascent efforts are underway to exert direct electrical control over the bioelectric signalling methods upstream of gene expression; pre-clinical studies show this method can control glycemic levels in diabetic mice.11
There is also a need for automated analysis of human tissue. Limitations in current understanding of the complex interactions between genetic and epigenetic factors that drive many disease pathologies could be overcome by artificial intelligence — specifically machine learning algorithms — that can identify the relationships among genes, gene networks and other factors involved in disease, and the potential consequences of edits to these.12 Machine learning may also be able to help identify novel biological candidate systems to manipulate DNA: it would be useful to find molecules that offer decreased immunogenicity, for instance. Searching through microbial data obtained from uncultivated samples may reveal more suitable enzymes — helicases, nucleases, transposases or recombinases — that solve the problems of currently available editors.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Better predictions

AI augments our ability to predict the outcomes of our edits. Genome writing allows us to build large genetic circuits composed of many repeated guide RNA sequences that enable us to simultaneously target multiple genes.

10-yearhorizon

Machine-gene interfaces in clinical trials

Machine-gene interfaces tackle neurodegenerative diseases. These are much smaller electrical stimulation devices than today’s existing ones, capable of interfacing with single cells and directly modulating gene expression there. As a result, receptors in our cells are engineered to sense electrical signals and translate them into genetic changes modulating memory or emotions. The first clinical trials are for diseases with no other treatment, possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

25-yearhorizon

Gene editing changes humans

Machine-gene interfaces enable new senses. Brain-machine interfaces translate electronic signals to “at will” genetic changes, and the first cyborgs, half-machine half-biological entities, are created.

Novel Bioengineering Approaches - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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