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"A team of scientists in Texas used CRISPR to edit out genes associated with autism traits in mice and observed clear results: The animals stopped digging obsessively, their erratic jumping around the cages slowed to a halt and they became more calm."

This sounds like a fucking lobotmy. They're just editing out all the behaviors except placid "normal" ones.

The article also refers to autism as a "developmental disorder" that autistic people "suffer from."

newsweek.com/scientists-edit-a

Neurotypicals are seriously fucking obsessed with rigidly enforcing some arbitrary standard of normalcy, just hiding away and eliminating all diversity in the human species to make everyone fit their neat little society with its neat little boxes.

@alexispurslane Why change society to fit human diversity when you can just eradicate all human diversity to fit society?

@alexispurslane it seems like they're just obsessed with finding "the autism gene" or "the transgender gene" so that they can delete it from humanity because they see it as a problem...

@aster and if you challenge people on this horrifying bullshit, they'll throw up their hands and act all offended and say that they just want to find out the truth and learn about the world and are you anti-science or anti-knowledge? And it's like, no, but what possible use could you have for knowing that except eugenics?

re: eugenism 

@alexispurslane @anyarchiste
fucking CW that I don’t want to read about eugenism and eradication of ppl like me on my home timeline thanks

re: eugenism 

@Elisa @alexispurslane sorry forgot to check before sharing, won't happen again

re: eugenism 

@anyarchiste @Elisa it was more my fault for forgetting to CW tbh. I do a lot of digital self harm

@alexispurslane@mastodon.lol I completely understand the sentiment here, but autism being a spectrum, there are people who are autistic who was very close to "normal" and those who are at the other end and essentially unable to take care of themselves. I think gene editing whatsoever is scary, but I also think it'd be good to lessen dehabilitating conditions.

@kino @alexispurslane here's an idea though: listen to autistic people instead of trying to "cure" them when there's nothing wrong with them.

@bugbear@tech.lgbt My sister specializes in behavioral therapy and her job is working with severely autistic children who probably won't ever get to a point where they can take care of themselves let alone have a job or live on their own. There's no attempts therein to "cure" them, there is no "curing" autism. But in re to OP and CRISPR, while I'm personally against artificial genetic modificatio, if there was a way to code out things like autism, I wouldn't be trying to stop it. 🤷 @alexispurslane@mastodon.lol

@kino @alexispurslane 1) "severely"? 2) so you just wanna erase people from this world, cool /s

@kino @alexispurslane you're literally talking about getting rid of neurodivergency but you tell me to shut up, wow.

ableism, eugenics 

@alexispurslane And to see what the next step of this process is, you only have to scroll down to the article's comment section, specifically the article by a "parent"

ableism, eugenics 

@alexispurslane This is also still an active area of research, by the way, judging from a quick search for 'autism crispr'. Probably time to start thinking about how to sabotage that research most effectively...

@alexispurslane @fuchsiashock We never really outgrew the Victorian desire to classify and label things with neat and tidy labels.

@alexispurslane That does not read well... Time to abolish the notion of autism being an illness...

Violence 

@alexispurslane < what if I edited out þe scientists brains wiþ a sledgehammer (þis will fix þem) ⭐

@alexispurslane you know what I suffer from? Neurotypicals cause me a lot of suffering.

@alexispurslane but it's a fancy lobotomy that doesn't involve drilling into your brain so, now it's Humane and Ethical /s

pol 

@alexispurslane adding this to the long list of reasons why capitalist medicine/science is not responsible enough to handle genetic engineering as a technology

didn't expect genetic lobotomies to be added to this list, but we should have

@alexispurslane this sounds like terrible science in addition to being eugenics
these sound like normal mouse behaviors? like ask any pet owner about how "weird" their pet acts
i was just thinking about how if a human displayed certain normal cat behaviors they would be diagnosed with a mental illness
how the fuck do you even diagnose a mouse as autistic? isn't it normal for an animal to hyperfixate on doing things they need to survive like finding food? and if a lab mouse is doing things obsessively it could be due to stress from being in an unnatural environment
if people started gene editing humans to make them "calm" we would probably all die
it is good to be driven and passionate at least sometimes, it is how we get things done

@alexispurslane I've suffered from the effects of autism. But I don't know if these sort of behavior changes are a good idea.

@alexispurslane from crispr cat ears to crispr fucking eugenism real quick

Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@alexispurslane Is this as apocalyptic as it sounds? Can they put this in the water to destroy all autistic people? Can they force us to take pills to try to make us allistic? Will they require all expectant parents to give this treatment to their unborn children to ensure all autistics are destroyed? What's the legality around using this in humans right now?

Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@alexispurslane Newsweek isn't the most reputable and what i had heard about crispr in the past indicated that it couldn't be used to change entire organisms unless you targeted their DNA before they were born. So I'm trying to figure out if this is a "I might as well just die right now" level threat or a "hopefully someone will bomb the laboratory or pass a law" kind of threat.

re: Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane reading the actual paper:

* yes they can do it in live organisms to change their dna

* ... the paper itself is not about autism?? its about a muscle atrophy disease they seem to be able to cure in mice using this technique. i do 'love' that the first thing people in power seem to think of when having this technique available is *not* "we can cure deadly muscle atrophy diseases!", but "we can get rid of the autistics!"

re: Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane also fyi they had to give it to mice using injections so taking it orally (via water supply or pills) probably wont do much, as your stomach + liver will most likely destroy it

also idk if its possible for it to cross the blood-brain barrier (though perhaps it could be engineered to do so? idk), and idk if this can only have an effect of cells that are still multiplying, or also on cells that just exist, i.e. it mightnt have much of an effect after a certain age

re: Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@sys64738 @alexispurslane Thank you so much for reading the paper. You are a literal life saver. I could not bring myself to look at it, because I was so distraught.

re: Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane ... however after some digging around i found this paper which does seem to be more topical: nature.com/articles/s41551-018 (with the quote in the newsweek article it did feel like they just linked the wrong thing)

some takeaways:
* it still required an injection *through the skull*, good luck doing that on a large scale
* it is only possible for it to affect part of a brain (for now)
* it only targeted a variant of autism 'caused' by only a single gene differing, which the article says is "responsible" for about 2% of autistic people
* the "other 98%" is "caused" by a complex interplay of lots of genes, and nobody has managed to make any "big" edits using crispr-cas9 yet, at all, afaik

re: Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane (also it being "not as bad as it could" still doesnt stop me from wanting to commit A Violence)

Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane this kind of thing can really only be used before birth. So ultimately the front line is still on broader cultural acceptance because parents would be the ones to elect for this procedure. And even then, only the ones that could afford it.

Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@awfulawfulthings @bunny_jane @alexispurslane yupp, at first it's like that, and then some states / nations / etc… might think it's necessary to mandate it… as part of the comprehensive medical guidance thru pregnancy…

re: Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane I don't think it's a threat to you right now at all, the worst case scenario with this eugenics shit is that future autistic people will be prevented from existing but it is unlikely to happen for a long time I think, because we have not found an "autism gene" despite looking and it is definitely not anything close to as simple as one gene, our genetic science will have to get far more advanced to tell the difference, and people would be really reactionary about human genetic modification so that is unlikely to happen for a long time as well
if they find any genes selective abortion is more likely
but I don't think this is an immediate threat to autistic people here and now

Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane I don't know, honestly. But god, it would be horrifying if they just put it in the water... fuck. Chemical lobotomies for all of us. I don't even want to think about it

Anti-Autistic Eugenics 

@bunny_jane @alexispurslane if this ends up working the most likely thing to happen in the few following years is that they propagandize them to pregnant people really hard, like it often happens with selective abortions

@alexispurslane some autistic people *do* suffer. Autism is a spectrum, and we all experience it differently. A blanket assertion that autism on its own does not cause suffering or disability is ableism.

Identifying the function of genes is not eugenics, genocide, or violence. That claim is exactly as bad as "vaccines cause autism"

Better understanding the mechanisms behind autism can genuinely help people who suffer with it in ways that don't involve gene editing.

@alexispurslane for instance, OCD and ADHD are pretty common with ASD and seem to have a genetic component. Understanding this mechanism could provide better treatment, which I think is something that almost anyone with those conditions would be thrilled over.

Understanding why and how some autistic people are non-verbal can help their families provide better support and communication

Understanding the how and why of a condition is how we begin to identify treatments and support, which we need

@rolenthedeep @alexispurslane i haven't read the article itself yet, but given what i've seen from newsweek in recent years i'm willing to bet they're framing this is awful eugenicist terms far, far beyond anything the actual researchers might've intended

@apophis @alexispurslane AFAIK the research at this stage is that they've found a set of genes common to autistic people which aren't common in the general population. They put it in a mouse and turn it on to see what it does (in mice).

We're decades away from any kind of human gene therapy, and I'm assuming gene therapy will be illegal before then anyway. This research will expand our understanding of ASD and how to help people who need and want help

@rolenthedeep @alexispurslane
> illegal
here's hoping at least 3 out of 6 specific SCOTUS judges die before then...

@apophis @alexispurslane tbh I put gene therapy in the same bucket as nuclear energy. Vast, unimaginable potential to solve real problems and help real people who are suffering and dying, but people are afraid of it.

@rolenthedeep @apophis @alexispurslane No, it won't. Knowing about our genes does nothing to help autistic people in any way. We need full acceptance and accommodation in society.
@changeling @rolenthedeep @alexispurslane @apophis if gene therapy is going to be illegal how is studying genes going to help?
why are scientists so fixated on genes anyway? it's like they just decide anything they can't explain is "genetic". one thing that would improve our lives is not being tortured as children. it's a lot cheaper to not hurt a kid than to do fancy genetic experiments of dubious merit

@AlienSkyler @apophis @changeling @alexispurslane understanding the genetic component is important to understand the underlying causes and mechanisms of autism.

If we understand what happens in the brain when an autistic child is non-verbal, maybe we can devise better, more supportive treatment. Improve their lives. Maybe it turns out that with the right supportive environment, these kids can communicate and be more independent.

@rolenthedeep @AlienSkyler @apophis @alexispurslane 👾 oh you mean, exactly what autistic advocates have been saying nonverbal autistics need for decades? without knowing shit about genes this whole time? brilliant discovery
@rolenthedeep @apophis @changeling @alexispurslane true, but genes are a really roundabout way of studying the brain
if you want to know what is going on in the brain why not do studies with brain scans? and maybe look at historical cases of people becoming nonverbal after a brain injury to figure out what parts of the brain are involved? it is going to take a long time to learn anything of use from genetic studies
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