CRISPR is a revolutionizing technology that can be used for gene editing, and as a direct result, has the potential to change the world as we know it. The essence of CRISPR-Cas9 is pretty simple. It’s a method of finding a certain part of DNA inside a cell. At the same time, the next step is commonly modifying a gene to alter a specific piece of DNA (Mullin, 2018).
CRISPR technology is also being used to turn genes off or on without even changing their sequence.
What is CRISPR Being Used For?
It is widely being used for scientific research. Various people are already consuming CRISPR food. CRISPR technology has huge potential to transform various fields. Let’s talk about some common players in the arena of CRISPR (Plumer, et, al. 2019). Having a look at these applications of CRISPR-Cas9 will certainly help you to see the potential that this gene-editing technology possesses.
To Prevent Genetic Diseases
Scientists are using this new gene editing technology to knock out some of the most common genetic diseases, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Besides this, scientists are even looking for some more mutations that are causing diseases like Huntington or Cystic Fibrosis (Richardson., 2019). This gene editing technology on mutations like RCA-1 and 2 are also there to prevent or treat ovarian and breast cancers.
Crop scientists are also excited to use CRISPR-Cas9 to edit genes of different crops to make them more nutritious and improve taste.
- The technology can be used to snip out allergens in different crops such as peanuts.
- Korean researchers are trying to see if Cas9 technology can help bananas survive a commonly-known but deadly fungal disease (Mullin, 2018).
- Some of the scientists have also shown that Cas9 can also create dairy cows that are hornless– a huge advantage in animal welfare (Plumer, et, al. 2019).
Companies such as DuPont and Monsanto have started licensing CRISPR technology to develop valuable varieties of new crops.
Halting Dog’s Muscular Dystrophy
Cas9 technology has appeared to fix muscular dystrophy in dogs with the genetic mutation that is responsible for this disease. As per a research report, Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a life shortening and devastating illness (Mullin, 2018). Developing treatment for this problem is really a major step forward in animal science.
To Treat Various Diseases
There are various clinical trials to treat different types of disorders and diseases using this gene editing technology. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are using Cas9 to treat myeloma, a cancer of bone marrow and blood (Michael W., 2019). In this research, they harvested cells from bone marrow as well as edited the T cells, the immune system’s part of targeting cancer, before putting these back in the body. This same terminology has also been used for a similar cancer type called sarcoma.
Overall, there is plenty of interest in this approach from across the globe. The efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and ease that are linked with this gene editing technology make it extremely appealing. The future can be revolutionized with the advancements to technology.
Mullin, Emily. “The 7 Craziest Ways CRISPR Is Being Used Right Now.” Medium, OneZero, 18 May 2020, onezero.medium.com/the-7-craziest-ways-crispr-is-being-used-right-now-bcf3bd203f23.
Plumer, Brad and Eliza Barclay. “A Simple Guide to CRISPR, One of the Biggest Science Stories of the Decade.” Vox, Vox, 23 July 2018, www.vox.com/2018/7/23/17594864/crispr-cas9-gene-editing.
Richardson, Michael W. “The History of CRISPR-Cas9.” BrainFacts.org, www.brainfacts.org/in-the-lab/tools-and-techniques/2019/crispr-explained-071519.