Thursday, November 28, 2019

CRISPR is Entering its First Human Trials

What's stopping us from using CRISPR to gene edit humans ...

Genetic diseases are generally inevitable, but are they really? Thanks to a gene editing technology, known as the "molecular scissors" CRISPR/Cas9, we may be able to cut out genes that are causing certain diseases. CRISPR has been used in animals to cure diseases, but now the first human trials are just starting up now. These "molecular scissors" don't just cut anything and everything. CRISPR is a short piece of genetic RNA material, and Cas9 is an enzyme that leads the CRISPR to the piece of DNA that needs to be cut. In the first human trials, scientists are attempting to fight cancer, blood disorders and inherited blindness. In the blood and cancer trials, scientists take cells from the patients bodies and place them in a petri dish, and CRISPR/Cas9 is injected into the cells and the DNA is then edited. Scientists have a way of determining whether the right DNA was edited or not. Then, these edited cells are injected back into the patient. I find CRISPR to be extremely interesting, and I think it could be a truly remarkable discovery if it does in fact prove to be successful. It would help millions upon millions of people. Part of it scares me because if it edits the wrong genes, it could be deadly.

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  1. These kinds of genetic therapies are amazing because of the hope they provide for the health and longevity of humankind. The down side is that it can go wrong. Also, these technologies can be maladapted to start a new eugenics movement.

  2. I also find CRSPR to be an amazing tool that humanity has developed. It's crazy how we can basically change our genes on the molecular nature. I hope this tool is used to cure many genetic diseases.