On Being a Transgenic Cyborg

Friends, I am twice as cyborg today as I was yesterday morning. There’s also an outside possibility that I could eventually be transgenic, too.

And I’m fine with that . . . mostly. Of course, I would prefer not to have diabetes; but as long as I have it, I’m going to stay connected to my insulin pump — basically a prosthetic pancreas. While I’ve had one kind of insulin pump or another attached to me since 2001, last night was my first using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) where I can see the data more or less in real-time.

Being a cyborg — having both biological and artificial parts — is nothing new. I grew up wearing a contact lens from a very young age to replace the cataract-occluded lens I had at birth. (My brain has now learned to ignore my “bad” eye, and I only wear glasses.) My insulin pump and CGM are just the endocrine versions of glasses and contact lenses. Someday I wouldn’t even mind if these devices were more permanently implanted into me.

“Okay, I get the whole cyborg thing,” you say, “but transgenic?”

I give you exhibit A:

The sensor contains two biological reagents: Glucose Oxidase and Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA). Glucose Oxidase is derived from Aspergillus niger, purified and dried according to Type VII-S guidelines and cross linked to BSA, purified and dried albumin fraction V, derived from pasteurized bovine serum with gluteraldehyde. Since less than 0.4 μg of glucose oxidase and less than 0.7 μg of BSA is used to manufacture each sensor, the risks of tissue reactions and viral transmission are considered minimal.

Yup, there’s a remote, remote, remote chance that a little alien DNA from the BSA or Glucose Oxidase could come poking around in the adipose tissue where I’ve put my CGM sensor. Yawn.

Now, find me some “alien” DNA that will reverse my diabetes, and I would gladly integrate it into my own genome.

Humanity’s future as cyborgs and transgenic creatures doesn’t need to seem so scary.

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One Response to On Being a Transgenic Cyborg

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