Years after the completion of the Human Genome Project, innovative applications of DNA insights are poised to transform human health — and much more. Scientist Raymond McCauley sees potential in three significant areas. From his perspective, the marriage of genetic sequencing insights and networked appliances — including, one day, your toilet — will introduce yet more opportunities to assess our health and make changes to improve it.
McCauley also cites promise in “cellular agriculture,” his term for producing animal products through processes that don’t require the animal: for example, one company is growing beef, pork and poultry in the lab by feeding stem cells with oxygen, sugar and minerals. Another company is producing “leather” from mushrooms, and still another is manufacturing a shrimp substitute made from plant proteins.
A third development that McCauley anticipates is a revolution in at-home innovation. One company is making a “mini-lab” that allows kids the ability to grow bacteria that adopts various colors or glows in the dark. From McCauley’s perspective, this development could be the breakthrough to DIY production of anything from insulin to perfume.