WHAT IS THE REVOLUTIONARY CRISPR TECHNOLOGY?
3 August 2021
CRISPR is a novel technique and is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat. It is used to edit genes and is a very useful technique. The basis of CRISPR is simple: it’s a way of finding a distinct bit of DNA inside a cell. Then we add, remove, or alter that specific piece of DNA and can modify its function.
What leads to CRISPR Cas9 discovery?
This technology is adapted from the natural defense mechanism of bacteria and archaea. These organisms use CRISPR-derived RNA and various Cas proteins, including Cas9, to prevent an attack by viruses and other foreign bodies. How they do this is by first chopping up and then destroying the DNA of a foreign invader.
How does it work?
When the CRISPR Cas9 protein, induced into a cell with a piece of guide RNA, the Cas9 protein joins up with the guide RNA and then transports along the strands of DNA until it encounters and connects to a 20-DNA-letter long sequence that resembles part of the guide RNA. This is highly admirable, seeing that DNA packed into each of our cells has 6 billion letters and is 2 meters long. Next, the Cas9 protein cuts the DNA at the target. Mutations that usually disable the gene are introduced once the cut is repaired. This is called gene editing or genome editing. True genome editing is more difficult though once done can be used to make precise changes like replacing faulty genes. Edited Cas proteins have been created that do not cut DNA or alter it in any way, but merely turn genes on or off.
Advantage & Disadvantage
It has an advantage over all other gene-editing tools because it simple and efficient. It can be introduced directly in embryos, this reduces the time needed to modify target genes compared to gene targeting based on the use of embryonic stem (ES) cells. On the other hand,
the effect of off-target can alter the function of a gene and may result in genomic instability, hindering its prospective and application in the clinical procedure.
Malaria: The theory is to introduce deleterious genes into the malaria-carrying mosquito.
HIV-AIDS disease: Scientists in the Philadelphia United States of America have demonstrated that they can remove DNA of integrated HIV virus from infected human cells.
Agriculture: CRISPR-Cas9 shows great potential in increasing crop yield and preventing crop genetic diseases.
CRISPR technology, in the future, can also be aimed to treat cancer.
To sum it up CRISPR has provided researchers with an invaluable tool that is time-efficient. It is easy to use and versatile. In the coming years with proper research and knowledge, we can expand to different opportunities. CRISPR Technology is thought to have unlimited applications in the future.