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California is the First State to Ban DIY Biohacking Kits

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We come to this world with a set of mental and physical attributes that, in the most part, are etched in DNA stone.

As we can squeeze more and more “intelligence” from our brain, the limitations, or shortcomings, are more apparent with our body.

It’s all in the genes!

But here comes a time when it’s possible not to accept the body you’re stuck with and tweak your genetic code. And you can edit your genes to biohack your body at home!

Just don’t do it in California because it’s now illegal to practice DIY biohacking in the state.

Don’t Try DIY Biohacking at Home in California!

California is home to Silicon Valley, where most of the companies at the forefront of gene-editing technologies reside. It’s like the birthplace of biohacking, yet it’s frowned upon in the state.

Well, it’s not biohacking altogether that’s being banned but its home version.

The California state Senate has passed a bill to prohibit selling home gene-editing kits. It goes without saying that when gene-editing or gene therapy are discussed, the CRISPR technique is brought up, and the new bill mentions it by name.

Basically, it’s illegal to sell DIY genetic editing kits in California. Otherwise, such biohacking kits should come with a clear warning stating that “the kit is not for self-administration.” The bill says:

“A person shall not sell a gene therapy kit in this state unless the seller includes a notice on the seller’s internet website in a conspicuous location that is displayed to the consumer prior to the point of sale, and on a label on the package containing the gene therapy kit, in plain view and readily legible, stating that the kit is not for self-administration.”

Biohacker Josiah Zayner wants to teach everyone DIY genetic engineering. He sells kits to help anyone modify organisms for as little as $30.

Serge Faguet is a Silicon Valley millionaire who thinks that implants, injections, and pills will turn him into an immortal “superhuman.” Putting his money where his mouth is, Faucet has shelled out $250k on biohacking techniques to achieve his goal of living forever.

But Zayner, a famous biohacker who lives in California, thinks the new bill is targeting him.

Zayner founded The Odin, a company based in Oakland selling at-home biohacking tools like DIY genetic engineering kits. In 2017, he injected himself with a CRISPR treatment publicly at a biohacking conference and live-streamed the whole thing.

This DNA-altering treatment supposedly targets a human gene, removing it to boost muscle growth.

The FDA was quick to issue a warning against the self-administration of gene-engineering kits. Now, Zayner is under investigation for practicing medicine without a license. But he doesn’t seem to care.

“It’s obviously targeting me,” Zayner told MIT Tech Review. “It’s like, California, people try to find new technology to regulate, make a name, and say, ‘Hey, California is ahead of everyone else.’ To me the law is silly.”

Read More: The Future of Biohacking: Implanting Malware to DNA

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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