Humans of the Future May Be Able to Alter Genes by Thinking About Them

The power of the human brain is one of the most popular subjects in science fiction movies from telekinesis to telepathy. We’ve already reported on scientists giving commands to robotic arms using their brains, the next jump in crazy science that’s NOT fiction involves scientists experimenting with the possibility of altering genes simply using thought-specific brainwaves. Marc Folcher and researchers led by Martin Fussenegger, Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at the Department of Biosystems in Basel, are trying to tap into the Jedi mind powers of Yoda and witnessing some pretty amazing results according to Science Daily.

“For the first time, we have been able to tap into human brainwaves, transfer them wirelessly to a gene network and regulate the expression of a gene depending on the type of thought. Being able to control gene expression via the power of thought is a dream that we’ve been chasing for over a decade,” says Fussenegger.


Interestingly, Folcher and Fussenegger were first inspired to tackle the monumental brain experiment by playing the game “Mindflex” where players wear a sensor on their forehead that records brainwaves and transfers them into the playing environment. The researchers took the headset concept by recording the brainwaves and transmitting them via Bluetooth to a controller that generates an electromagnetic field that supplies an induction current to an implant. An LED lamp illuminates a chamber containing genetically modified cells that produce different proteins based on the type of recorded brainwaves.

The researchers regulated the released protein by breaking test subjects up into three states of mind: bio-feedback, meditation, and concentration. The researchers then played “Minecraft” on the computer and recorded different changes in the protein levels based on how relaxed the subjects were versus when they were intensely concentrating.

Comic book scenarios with mad scientists altering their genes with brain waves might remain fiction, but the potential for this development is limitless at this point. Controlling genes this way is completely new, and Fussenegger and his team hope that a thought-controlled implant could one day be used to treat neurological diseases, like migraines, and epilepsy.

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