…that he sequenced into DNA. No. Really:
A 16-year-old French boy who made headlines around the world after he translated religious texts into DNA and injected it into himself has explained his process.
Adrien Locatelli translated the Book of Genesis and the 13th chapter of the Koran into a DNA sequence. He then built the proteins in a lab and injected them into his legs.
Adrien told Newshub the process took him “some months” as he “injected [himself] with very small quantities”.
“Nobody helped me, I did everything alone in my room,” he said.
Adrien said he was not afraid because “injections of junk DNA and junk proteins are inoffensive. It is not dangerous”.
Specialist in organic chemistry Dr Alex Hunt-Painter says “junk DNA” refers to parts of DNA that, as far as we know, isn’t associated with transcribing or synthesising proteins.
“Essentially it’s a really large proportion of DNA that’s up for debate as for what purpose it serves in the body,” Dr Hunt-Painter said.
When injected, Adrien says he experienced “minor inflammation like a mosquito bite”. But other than that, he didn’t experience any side effects.
“I thought that nothing would happen, and nothing happened.”
Dr Hunt-Painter says that although Adrien did not think what he was doing was dangerous, this may not be the case.
“He was essentially rolling a dice. Whatever sequence of DNA he sequenced, essentially we just don’t know what it was going to do.”
“It’s not like the body can’t deal with random DNA, a good example is blood transfusions. But we’re talking about an unknown sequence into a biological system.
Dr Hunt-Painter said to say the procedure was safe was “ignorant”.
“He took a big risk, and he may not have necessarily understood the risk he took.”
Adrien said he conducted his experiment “only for the symbol; the symbol of peace between religion and science.”
He says that he will not be doing the experiment again as “I don’t like to repeat myself. I did biohacking one time, and I do not consider myself a biohacker”.
“It’s finished, I will stop, and in addition it was expensive. My wallet would die.”
One of the things about large religious systems is that you simply do not know how any given individual will respond to them. Average people will respond according to the law of averages and have average thoughts and deeds about such systems result. So most people in most places and times have responded to the New Testament in roughly similar ways, summarized and described by the Creed. But now and then, somebody will encounter the gospel, conclude that the Incarnation is blasphemy, and write the Koran to fix whatever garbled version of it he got. Or he will decide to write King James Version Fan Fiction and call it the Book of Mormon. Or he will read the New Testament, come away with the conviction that he is Jesus’ younger brother, and start a giant war resulting in millions of deaths.
Or, as here, somebody will take it into their head to take passages from Biblical and Quranic sources, synthesize them into DNA and then inject them, just to see what happens. Happily, this thoroughly B grade science fiction horror movie premise did not pan out and turn the kid into The Antichrist or create a world-destroying pandemic.
Still, don’t try this at home.