Until recently, gene editing used to be relegated to science fiction novels and movies. The idea of being able to edit our genetic code or the genetics of other creatures was something that was totally out of reach — until CRISPR changed all that.
What has Crispr been used for and what could it help accomplish in the future?
Cancer treatment — Just this past year, scientists showed in pre-clinical settings that CRISPR can be used to modify the DNA in cancer cells, effectively killing the cells and shrinking cancerous growths.
Huntington’s disease — This currently incurable genetic condition is almost always fatal in humans. Crispr can be used to edit out the gene that causes it in mice, reversing the condition. It is expected to be applied to human trials in the not-too-distant future.
Biofuel — Outside of the medical industry, CRISPR has been used to modify algae that produce biofuel. The modified algae produces twice as much fuel as its unmodified counterpart.
What could this be used for in the future? Pest control — Specifically, pests like mosquitoes and ticks that can spread disease.
CRISPR may be one of the most exciting advances in genetic research in recent years, but we should still be careful with how we use it. We don’t understand the impact of genetic manipulation well enough yet to forge ahead carelessly.
Read full, original post: How CRISPR gene editing is poised to change everything from medicine to ecosystems