Currently there is often something wrong with most of us, some of the so insignificant we just don’t care or possibly even don’t know. Some are quite severe that it threatens the lives of those who have it, such as genetic disease or some sort of incurable sickness. But now scientists have discovered a way to quite possibly cure most if not all diseases and correct any genetic error. Enter CRISPR or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which for the sake of saving word space and confusion will continue to call CRISPR (pronounced crisper). This new technology makes it easier and cheaper to edit the DNA of any living life, may it be People, Plants, Animals, Bacteria, or anything living.
Since the beginning of civilization, or even before that, humans have been very good at genetically modifying plants and animals, magnifying the best of what the organism has to offer us. We were not really sure of how it worked until just recently. In the 20th century, we were able to understand the building blocks of life, DNA, and since then we modified them in a myriad of ways, such as blasting radiation on the organism and wait and see its effects, gene guns, and modified viruses, amongst other ways. Unfortunately all of these methods were expensive, took a lot of time to see results, and was pretty much only available to a very few. CRISPR has now allowed researchers to do genetic research at a significantly lower cost and with faster results.
The origin of CRISPR is quite interesting, one I will hopefully explain well even with my lack of scientific background, so if any scientist is reading this I do apologize if I say something erroneous. CRISPR is actually a part of a bacterial immune system response. When a virus attacks a bacteria, it tries to take it over to be a factory for its self-production, it does this by injecting its DNA to the bacteria. Often times the bacteria dies, but in the off chance that it does survive, the bacteria saves a chunk of the viruses DNA and gives it to the CRISPR as sort of “hey the guy who beat the living daylight out of us looks like this” reminder, if and when they run into the virus again, CRISPR gives its copy of the DNA to an RNA called CAS9 which will use it as reference and cut out any similar DNA it runs into, making the virus pretty much useless.
Scientist found a way to utilize CRISPR and the RNA as a precise tool to manipulate DNA, and with this tool research is being made to develop cures for certain diseases and viruses. One such test is with HIV, they have achieved results in labs where they were able to remove about 40% of the virus from the host’s cells, and more studies such as cures for cancer and even aging is currently being research. Though, while all these research is being done and some results with less major diseases and viruses are sure to be developed soon, the more complex cures will take time to develop.
One thing is certain though, with the utilization of CRISPR in research and treatments, the possibility of humans one day being more or less genetically perfect is just beyond the horizon. Along with other developments in the genetic engineering