The Truth About CRISPR & Gene Editing!

Date: 2019-09-19 12:15:00

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What you didn’t know about gene-editing and CRISPR! From the potential capabilities of manipulating DNA to the irresponsible mistakes that can occur.

#9 CRISPR Unraveled
Associated recently with the concept of gene editing, the term CRISPR actually stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. What this refers to specifically are the DNA sequences found in bacteria that act as an immune system. This DNA holds onto the bits of invading viruses that bacteria has already eradicated. The Cas9 enzymes produced by the bacteria to fight viruses will use these stored bits to identify past infiltrators and dispose of them quickly. For years, this information was simply a scientific discovery useful to microbiologists, but what researchers found later quickly changed that forever.
#8 Revolutionary Advancement
In 2011, two researchers were enamored by the CRISPR process and the Cas9 enzymes and began examining them in detail. The University of California Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna and Umea University’s Emmanuelle Charpentier wanted to know how, exactly, the Cas9 enzymes chose what viruses to chop up and store and when to do so. In their experiments, they found they could actually fool the bacteria’s CRISPR and Cas9 enzymes and give it artificial RNA. From here, the Cas9 proteins would store that information upon shredding the RNA and use the stored data to attack anything with the same genetic code. So a year later, the team of scientists released a paper detailing their work and the conclusion that they could, in a way, cut up any genome anywhere they want. The discovery was mind blowing to the genetic research community. It wasn’t long until inspired scientists, like Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute and George Church of Harvard, would discover new uses for this discovery…like the editing of human cells. Not only would they be able to remove harmful genes with the Cas9 protein…but replace them with beneficial ones as well. And it does so at a low cost and incredible precision, advancing gene editing in multiple ways.