Experiment Reveals Human Genes Can Be Controlled With Electricity

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Fitness trackers help you stay healthy by keeping count of your steps and monitoring your heart rate, driving you on to hit those cardio goals. New research from ETH Zürich in Switzerland could see future wearable devices (with perhaps a few implants and a touch of genetic engineering) boost our health directly.

Experimental technology designed by the Swiss scientists used small pulses of electricity to trigger insulin production in test mice with specially designed human pancreatic tissues. They’re calling it an ‘electrogenetic’ interface, and it could be used to kick target genes into action when we could use a helping hand.

Wearable electronic devices are playing a rapidly expanding role in the acquisition of individuals’ health data for personalized medical interventions,” the researchers write in their published paper.

“However, wearables cannot yet directly program gene-based therapies because of the lack of a direct electrogenetic interface. Here we provide the missing link.”

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