CRISPR-Cas9: A Revolutionizing Gene Editing Tool

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Not too long ago, scientists figured out how to use CRISPR to edit DNA sequences. This technology has taken the world by storm, promising to make gene editing simpler and faster. CRISPR is taking off massively because of its staggering potential. And rightly so, Imagine if you could cure genetic diseases, change your hair colour, or make people resistant to deadly viruses like HIV. Wouldn't it make life less dreadful? It's easy to see the potential for life-changing benefits, which is why there's so much buzz currently about CRISPR.

What is CRISPR?

Usually, we think of our DNA as being set out in stone. But what if it isn’t? What if you could change your DNA? Well, that’s what CRISPR promises! It is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat. It is a search, and cut/paste function rolled into one, but for DNA. This pattern appears naturally in bacteria, and scientists have only recently discovered how to use it to edit DNA sequences in other organisms, including humans.

What can CRISPR do?

In theory, CRISPR gene-editing tool is utilized to make any conversion to the DNA of almost any living being. CRISPR is becoming the go-to tool for drug discovery and development in biotech and pharma companies. This tool is being used to modify the genome of all sorts of organisms to analyze the function of any gene of interest, whether it causes disease or one that makes a crop grow faster or survive in unbearable conditions. CRISPR can be used in agriculture to produce crops with better yields or to make them resist drought much quicker than is possible with traditional breeding techniques. It can also add new features to existing crops, such as making gluten-free wheat, making tomatoes juicy or decaf coffee beans.

It is not that easy to use it on anything and everything, and regulations can limit the use of such technologies. While the US has already launched the CRISPR-modified crops, the European Union decided to set strict GMO regulations that scientists think are hindering the potential of the technology. Currently, most of the money seems to be in using CRISPR-Cas9 to engineer human DNA. With over 10,000 diseases caused by mutations in a single human gene, CRISPR offers hope to cure all of them by repairing any generic error behind them.


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