Innovation Watch: The Gene Genies
As the incredible gene editing tech, CRISPR, becomes more and more advanced, we ask if it could be used for marketing.
In a world full of incredible advancements, not many technologies sound as close to magic as CRISPR currently does. This gene splicing technique allows us to neatly cut away faulty genes, replacing them with something reliable. Or desirable.
It sounds like eye-rolling sci-fi but it’s very real and its advancing fast.
The technique repurposes a natural defence some bacteria use against viral attacks, where the DNA of the invader is cut up, unravelling until the attacker poses no threat. The bacteria store a snapshot of that DNA and the next time it sees the virus it can defend itself far more quickly. This cut, store, replace mechanic is what scientists are exploring.
Recently a research paper discussed using gold nanoparticles to deliver CRISPR into adult brains, editing them on the fly. The implications are huge. This sort of editing could see us treat epilepsy, chronic pain, or even addiction.
Naturally, working in marketing it got us thinking about the behavioural applications that might one day exist. Imagine if people had dormant nanoparticles in their systems designed to activate and increase, say, focus when you walk into a shop. Or adversely if people could choose to temporarily activate a sort of real life ‘ad-block’, turning down impulsiveness, envy or excitement so they could shop without being tempted by unnecessary extras. Obviously, we’re just dreaming right now but maybe there’ll be a day when clients will want to know about CRISPR activation alongside digital banners and OOH displays.
Oh, and CRISPR stands for ‘clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,’ in case you were wondering. You were wondering, weren’t you?