Gene-editing technology is not a new development. We’ve been using a number of different methods for decades, with applications ranging from genetic therapy, to conservation, to agriculture.
However, scientists are now able to quickly and precisely alter, delete, and even rearrange DNA.
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is the latest development in gene-editing technology. This technology is also referred to as Cas-9, which stands for CRISPR-associated protein 9.
You can read a detailed explanation of how CRIPSR works here.
Geneticists are looking into how CRISPR can locate and target genetic mutations associated with genetic ailments.
Ecologists are looking at the ways in which CRISPR can help protect endangered species.
Botanists are looking at the ways in which gene editing can create hardier crops and reduce our reliance on pesticides.
Parasitologists are looking at the ways in which CRISPR can be used to eradicate or at least significantly reduce the spread of malaria by targeting specific genes in mosquitoes.
To learn more about the different ways scientists are using CRISPR, check out this article.
While ethical issues arise from genetic modification (especially regarding the question of modifying human genes), CRISPR and related technologies may have a positive impact on our world.
From bettering healthcare; including diagnosis, family planning, and disease research; to improving agricultural output through modification of plants and animals; CRISPR, and other gene-editing technology, has the potential to improve our lives.