As an Artist in Residence in the labs at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) the artist Emilia Tikka explored how this could affect society in the future. On November 1st, 2018, she presented the resulting artwork called “ÆON – Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR” at the science art gallery STATE Studio in Berlin. Emilia Tikka spent two months as the Artist in Residence at Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) where she worked closely with the researchers at the MDC’s CRISPR lab. Her artistic concept is a speculative scenario about a possible future of genome editing technologies and the human obsession of youth. The residency project is concerned with the human desires and dreams driving current biotechnology from institutional laboratories to citizen science tinkerers. As you age, your cells replicate a countless amount of times. And in each of the estimated 30 to 40 trillion cells that makes up the average person, lies your DNA.We are all somewhat familiar with DNA correct? DNA is to living organisms what a computer program is to a software.It dictates all that we are, from the complex metabolic process that occur in our bodies to mundane traits such as how tall we are and the color of our hair, DNA is the structural blueprint that makes up an organism. During mitosis, the process of cellular reproduction, DNA has to be meticulously copied for the nucleus of the daughter cell. As you can imagine, after the countless billions if not trillions of times of going through this process, errors occur in the process and the DNA code is damaged. This is believed to be the reason we age.Let’s think about wear and tear. Our bodies get damaged over the course of our lives. This happens in ways that we can see and feel. Maybe your joints start to ache or those laugh lines get deeper and deeper.Some scientists think the reason this kind of stuff gets worse as we get older is because our bodies get worse at fixing the damage.Our body is made of cells. When some parts of our body get damaged we make more cells to replace the damaged ones.There are special kinds of cells in our body that do this. They’re called stem cells.Stem cells in older people don’t do as good of a job of making new cells to fix damage. That’s because over time stem cells get damaged too.Each time stem cells fix something that’s damaged they need to make a copy of themselves. Whenever stem cells make a copy, there’s a risk that they will make a mistake.The more copies a stem cell makes of itself, the more likely it is to get damaged. Damaged stem cells do a bad job of repairing our bodies.There are parts of the body where cells don’t divide. Your brain is a good example of this. Once a brain cell dies, no new cells replace it. This makes your brain different from the body parts we talked about before.Even though your brain is so different from everything else in your body, it ages too! Making a brain immortal would work very differently from making skin immortal. It’s hard to imagine a single mutation that would work in both places.