CRISPR at home: Is it really that easy to hack DNA?

| | November 9, 2017

I am not a DIY scientist, much less a professional scientist. You won’t find me swabbing my cheek cells for DNA or tinkering with yeast in a lab on the weekend. But I wondered: Is CRISPR so easy that even amateurs like me can make meaningful contributions to science?

I ordered my kit for $130 from the crowd-funding site Indiegogo as part of a campaign created by Bay Area biohacker Josiah Zayner.

The goal: modify the E. coli so that it can grow on an antibiotic called streptomycin, which normally kills bacteria. With materials and instructions from the kit, I will introduce CRISPR into the bacteria cells, and use it to rewrite a tiny part of their DNA, creating genetically altered cells that happily thrive on streptomycin.

I had no problem conducting the experiment—CRISPR is easy, I concluded. I basically just measured, scraped and stirred a bunch of ingredients, occasionally cooling them or heating them up.

Is CRISPR so easy to use that we need to worry about biohackers—either accidentally or intentionally—creating dangerous pathogens? [Professor Dana] Carroll and others think that the danger of putting CRISPR in the hands of the average person is relatively low.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original postMail-Order CRISPR Kits Allow Absolutely Anyone to Hack DNA

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

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