5 Mind-Blowing Gene-Editing Hacks You Can Do with CRISPR
The only thing that sets human beings apart from other animals and places them on a superior stand in the animal kingdom is not only their intelligence but also the mammoth advancement of humanity. Thanks to the progress of science! Science has been the founding block for discoveries that have revolutionized the very existence of mankind. CRISPR is one among many of science’s progenies that have changed the very idea of ‘modern’. Science has been challenging itself at every step opening the door for new inventions every day.
CRISPR has been the source of the entire buzz in the world of science. This genome editing tool is expected to have far-reaching consequences enabling genetic engineers and medical practitioners to edit part of the genome by adding, altering or removing part of the DNA sequence. By far, it is the simplest yet versatile method of genetic manipulation and alteration, therefore creating the buzz everywhere. No wonder, this technology has revolutionized the very concept of Biology by introducing gene hacking techniques resulting in genetic mutation/alteration that has an impact on the physical traits, mostly changing them of the person or the animal it has been experimented on.
Read on to find out the 5 gene editing hacks, thanks to CRISPR
1. Making Mosquitoes unable to transmit Malaria
Years of research and hard work have led researchers to create mosquitoes that are immune to the parasites causing malaria, Plasmodium falciparum. The scientists used the CRISPR technology in removing a part of the DNA and when the natural system of the body attempted to restore the genome, it was maneuvered into using the gene construct engineered by the scientists which made them resistant to malaria. Even when they mated with normal mosquitoes, these genetic constructs were passed on to 99% of the offspring.
2. Treating Muscular Dystrophy
By far the most significant and life-saving hack, this is a hope to so many people who are battling this rare genetic disorder. It prevents the affected person’s body from developing new muscle tissue by hampering the production of the dystrophin protein which is critical to muscle growth. Researchers successfully used the CRISPR technology on lab mice to treat this genetic mutation by cutting and repairing the dystrophin gene.
3. Using Pig Organs for Humans
A complex CRISPR has been used by a group of scientists recently led by George Church of the Harvard Medical School to edit 62 genes in pig cells all at once. Church maintains that this technique can be used to transplant pig organs into humans.
4. Treating HIV
Researchers have claimed that by using the CRISPR technology, the DNA of the virus affecting the gene can be removed. Although there is no way to render the HIV virus inactive, this technique when clubbed with a cocktail of other drugs can help the virus lay dormant. The problem, however, is to identify the DNA of the HIV virus in a latent cell that doesn’t show any feature of the symptoms associated with the active virus. However, rigorous research is going on to overcome this problem.
5. Develop New Kind of Drugs
Researchers are also investing a lot of time in understanding this technique and using it for the production of new and advanced kind of drugs to reach out to more and more people. Bayer AG, a big name in the pharmaceutical industry has joined hands with CRISPR to develop drugs for heart diseases, blood disorders, and blindness.