Changing the science world one cut at a time. CRISPR-Cas9 promises to make changes to the science world and the way we edit the DNA of everything.

GLOSSARY

CRIPSR: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, enzyme that allows for the editing of DNA.

T-Cells: a lymphocyte of a type produced or processed by the thymus gland and actively participating in the immune response.

Enzyme: a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

Genome: the haploid set of chromosomes in a gamete or microorganism, or in each cell of a multicellular organism.

What advancements can we make in the medical field by using CRISPR?

The editing of someone's DNA using CRISPR could cure them of cancer or an STI’s. CRISPR testing in the USA will hopefully be approved so testing can start to try and cure people with multiple myeloma, melanoma, and sarcoma. By using removing the T cell from the patients, doctors can then use CRISPR to modify the T cells,which once modified will be injected or infused back into the patient. T cells, normally target cells that are foreign, like bacteria; when T cells are modified by using CRISPR they will fight off and destroy cancer cells. Pennsylvania’s Dr. Carl June, a pioneer in the use of T cells against cancer said that, “Our preliminary data suggests that we could improve the efficacy of these T cells if we use CRISPR.” If the technology can keep advancing as the same rate it currently is and the rate of success go up even higher, the chances of CRISPR-Cas9 being used in the medical field would skyrocket and many could be saved by changing something as small as your genes. The editing of animals could reduce their possibility of diseases, or fix a mutation in their DNA. There is still experimenting going on to make the CRISPR technology more effective, one of the many experiments resulted in 80 of the targeted cancer genes being destroyed, says PhD student Robin Graf from the MDC research group. Which is an excellent rate, with low error and high efficiency.

What is CRIPSR

CRISPR is an efficient and reliable way to cut and edit certain parts of DNA. The flexibility and adaptability of the CRISPR-cas9 system is more effective because of the fact that it offers a vast potential for genome manipulators. Sarah Zhang, writer for gizmodo, says that“ CRISPR allows scientists to edit genomes with unprecedented precision, efficiency, and flexibility. The past few years have seen a flurry of “firsts” with CRISPR, from creating monkeys with targeted mutations to preventing HIV infection in human cells.” CRISPR is so flexible because it can be delivered as RNA, DNA or protein, and is introduced to the cell through an infection, or an injection. Jeffry D Sander & J Keith Joung, writers for Nature Biotechnology, says “Genome editing mediated by these nucleases has been used to rapidly, easily and efficiently modify endogenous genes in a wide variety of biomedically important cell types and in organisms that have traditionally been challenging to manipulate genetically.” The editing of cells has been made easy through the finding and developing of CRISPR, which continues to advance and make it easier to edit DNA.

Should there be a limit to how CRISPR can be used on DNA?

Many people think that there should be a limit to the use of CRISPR because of the cas9 enzyme which does exactly what its designed to, even if it is done in the wrong section of DNA. Which turns it into a huge safety risk, writer for Science, Jocelyn Kaiser says that “the most discussed safety risk with CRISPR is that the cas9 enzyme… will also make cuts in other parts of the genome that could result in mutation.” Many other researches are worried about the enzymes. CRISPR researcher Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said that “the enzyme will still hang around over 10-20 years” which highly raises the possibility that the enzyme will make a cut that is undesired and could cause a mutation.

Should there be any limits on to using CRISPR?

There are many ethical protests behind using CRISPR on plant, animals, humans basically any living organism. There has already been testing on animals, and humans, which can raise alarm because many are afraid that if the CRISPR technology is successful it will be used to make the “perfect” human or used to genetically modify animals. Steph Yin, writer for Motherboard, said “the National Institutes of Health stated that they will not fund any use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos, citing safety and ethical concerns” Creating bounds with something of this type of caliber is necessary to remain in control of it, many are afraid that the using of CRISPR technology will expand, and be unable to be controlled. ‘playing God’ and ‘designer babies’ – is off bounds, says Peter Mills, assistant director of the UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the council’s lead on genome editing.

How was CRISPR-Cas9 discovered?

Several Scientist discovered CRIPSR, however no one fully realized its potential until Emmanuelle Charpentier, she discovered that Cas9 and CRIPSR could be put together into one successful system to edit DNA. The first time that CRIPSR and its uses were discovered was in 1993, Cas9 was first discovered in 2005. Discoveries about CRISPR and CAS9 were going on all around the world, and many theories were being passed around about what exactly they could do. The piecing together of CRISPR-Cas9 didn't happen until 2011 when Tracer RNA was discovered as the "final piece to the puzzle in the mechanism of natural CRISPR-Cas9-guided interference" says the Broad Institute.

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Created with images by phylofigures - "pgen.1002511.g003" • Caroline Davis2010 - "DNA" • Arenamontanus - "DNA" • thekirbster - "DNA" • fdecomite - "DNA" • phylofigures - "gb-2013-14-8-r88-4"

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