First CRISPR-CAS9 finds its target sequence.
It then creates a guide RNA which then binds to the target sequence.
Then the CAS9 enzyme binds to the guide RNA.
CAS9 cuts the strand of DNA.
The cell recognizes that the DNA strand is broken and tries to repair it. Causing mutations and potential silencing of the virus or genetic disease (Your Genome, 2016).
CRISPR is also being researched to benefit animals and plants.
Researcher Timothy Doran is using CRISPR technology to create a hypoallergenic chicken egg. He is altering the gene that creates protein so that protein no longer triggers a reaction in the blood that causes people to be allergic to the egg (Reardon, 2016).
Scientist Sim Gills is working on creating modified genes in honey bees so they will be less susceptible to the many parasitic diseases that are killing them (Reardon, 2016).
Scientists are also starting to alter genes in mosquitoes so they do not carry diseases such as malaria. Andrew Hammond and his team of researchers are genetically engineering the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, which is the main type of mosquito species that malaria is found in. If they can alter the gene drive in these mosquitoes then they could wipe out the gene that allows mosquitoes to carry malaria and wipe out malaria entirely (Stein, 2016).
Many people have controversial opinions whether or not the CRISPR technology is acceptable to use.
Scientists from around the world met and declared a moratorium on editing the heritable changes to the human genome until they have more research and information about the subject (Molteni, 2016).
According to John Harris of National Geographic, gene editing research should continue. He thinks if we continue CRISPR research on humans we could possibly find the cure to many fatal diseases such as cancer and Huntingtons disease. We could extend this research into human embryonic gene editing and potentially save babies born with genetic diseases from pain and suffering (Harris, N.D).
"Just as justice delayed is justice denied, so, too, therapy delayed is therapy denied. That denial costs human lives, day after day." - John Harris
The possibilities of CRISPR technology are endless. There could be the possibility of creating designer babies and humans. These would be people with, for example, low risk of strokes and illnesses, people with perfect pitch, stronger athletes, people with perfect eyesight and much more (Davidson, 2016).
Many people are against this technology as a whole. According to Marcy Darnovsky she believes that even if CRISPR was able to genetically alter genes so they wouldn't carry a certain genetic disease, it wouldn't help people with existing medical problems. She also stated in December 2015, using CRISPR to edit genes in embryos was a large topic spoken about at the international summit on human gene editing. Every scientist agreed that editing an embryos gene would cause an extraordinary amount of risks and could affect the long term health of the child (Darnovsky, 2016).
"Eugenics will inevitably be used by those with wealth and power to make others believe that prenatal genetic modification makes people better. This would be as much a myth as believing that the sperm from Nobel Laureates will produce a genius child." -Sheldon Krimsky
Many people are under the belief that the ability to edit the human genome gives people too much power. Camporsie believes that something that could potentially become a human being should not be touched and the ethics behind editing the human genome to make a designer baby would create too much diversity in wealth among people because only a few would be able to afford it. They also believe that it would create a very divided human society. People would then only choose to socialize with the people they have been altered to look like, and it would create new social standards that not everyone would be able to uphold (Darnovsky, 2016).