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CRISPR bio-technology

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    15th Sep, 2022


CRISPR technology has successfully competed 10 years, this year. In just a decade, CRISPR has become one of the most celebrated inventions in modern biology.

???About CRISPR

  • CRISPR-CAS9 is a technology that allows scientists to essentially cut-and-paste DNA, raising hope of genetic fixes for disease
    • However, there are also concerns about its safety and ethics.
  • CRISPR is a dynamic, versatile tool that allows us to target nearly any genomic location and potentially repair broken genes. 
    • It can remove, add, or alter specific DNA sequences in the genome of higher organisms.

India approved a 5-year project to develop CRISPR to cure sickle cell anaemia (it mainly affects tribal population) as this technology has produced flawless results in clinical trials.

How does Gene-editing work?

  • Unusual but repeated DNA structures that scientists had been observing for some time were given a name. 
    • This name was assigned as “Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” or CRISPR.
  • In 2012, scientists discovered that CRISPR is a key part of the “immune system”. 
    • For instance, when a virus enters a bacterium, it fights back by cutting up the virus’s DNA.
  • This kills the virus but the bacterium stores some of the DNA.
  • The next time there is an invasion, the bacterium produces an enzyme called Cas9 which matches the stored fingerprints with that of the invaders.
    • If it matches, Cas9 can snip the invading DNA.
  • The CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool thus has two components. They are:
    • A short RNA sequence that can bind to a specific target of the DNA.
    • The Cas9 enzyme which acts like molecular scissors to cut the DNA.
  • To edit a gene of interest, the short RNA sequence that perfectly matches with the DNA sequence that has to be edited is introduced. 
    • Once it binds to the DNA, the Cas9 enzyme cuts the DNA at the targeted location where the RNA sequence is bound.
  • Once the DNA is cut, the natural DNA repair mechanism is utilized to add or remove genetic material or make changes to the DNA.

Advantages of Gene Editing

  • CRISPR could be used to modify disease-causing genes in embryos brought to term, removing the faulty script from the genetic code of that person’s future descendants as well.
  • Genome editing could potentially decrease, or even eliminate, the incidence of many serious genetic diseases, reducing human suffering worldwide.
  • It might also be possible to install genes that offer lifelong protection against infection.
  • CRISPR may prove useful in De-Extinction Efforts.
    • For example, Researchers are using the powerful gene-editing tool to recreate the woolly mammoth.
  • CRISPR Could Create New, Healthier Foods- In agricultural crops; Crispr has the potential to impact yield, disease resistance, taste, and other traits. 
    • Few experiments have been done. If successful it can help us to eradicate the problem of hunger and malnutrition.


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