How CRISPR Gene Editing Is Ushering In a Brave New World
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You might have heard of CRISPR. It's a technique that consists of manipulating the source code of life itself: Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA. DNA works kind of like a computer code guiding the growth of all living things.
An error in this code could result in a debilitating disease. You can think of this code as a series of words and CRISPR as a spell checker and you can think of CRISPR-Cas9 as a DNA surgeon.
It gives researchers the ability to cut DNA exactly where they want, adding or removing parts where needed. The technique has been used to create all sorts of wondrous things such as allergy-free food, better biofuels, more nutritious fish, and even glow-in-the-dark plants and animals.
However, where CRISPR truly shines is in medicine. Researchers have used the technique to eliminate HIV infections in mice and in 20 years the technique could also be used to disable a range of viruses that hide inside human cells.
We could even use the technique to engineer superhumans that can survive in hostile environments. However, for now, CRISPR is still at its beginning stages.
Only time will tell what this amazing technique will achieve and what new uses will be discovered for it.