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What’s CRISPR? Here’s a primer on the powerful gene-editing tool

| | May 8, 2018

If you’re asking, “what’s Crispr?” the short answer is that it’s a revolutionary new class of molecular tools that scientists can use to precisely target and cut any kind of genetic material. Crispr systems are the fastest, easiest, and cheapest methods scientists have ever had to manipulate the code of life in any organism on Earth, humans included.

The long answer is that Crispr stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats. Crispr systems consist of a protein with sequence-snipping capabilities and a genetic GPS guide. Such systems naturally evolved across the bacterial kingdom as a way to remember and defend against invading viruses.

Every industry is throwing mad money at Crispr—pharma, agriculture, energy, materials manufacturing, you name it. Even the weed guys want in. Companies are using it to make cancer-curing medicinesclimate-change-fighting cropsbiofuel-oozing algae, and self-terminating mosquitoes. Academic researchers have almost universally adopted Crispr to more deeply understand the biology of their model organisms.

Related article:  Infertility could be ended with emerging technologies, including CRISPR

For now, Crispr is still a biologist’s buzzword. But just as computers evolved from a nerdy, niche tool for math geeks to a ubiquitous, invisible extension of our own bodies, so Crispr will one day weave seamlessly into the fabric of our physical reality. It will simply be the way to solve a problem, if that problem is remotely biological in nature.

Read full, original post: The Wired guide to CRISPR

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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