What Is CRISPR, and why should I care?

Manuel Rodriguez '21, Writer

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CRISPR is a method of changing the DNA code for humans by making it less defective to diseases and preventing them from happening. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Francisco Mojica, a scientist from the University of Alicante in Spain, developed CRISPR because he wanted to help defend against viruses,but it has lead to so much more. As CRISPR repeats the “sequences genetic code,” the cells become more proficient against viruses. The technology was first used in 2007. 5 years later the Zhang lab tested CRISPR on mouses and human cells and they published the first method of CRISPR.CRISPR is a method of changing the DNA code for humans by making it less defective to diseases and preventing them from happening. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Francisco Mojica, a scientist from the University of Alicante in Spain, developed CRISPR because he wanted to help defend against viruses,but it has lead to so much more. As CRISPR repeats the “sequences genetic code,” the cells become more proficient against viruses. The technology was first used in 2007. 5 years later the Zhang lab tested CRISPR on mouses and human cells and they published the first method of CRISPR. To use CRISPR, scientists find the specific parts of the DNA, and then use “Cas-9 which is one of the enzymes produced by the CRISPR system” to  “binds to the DNA and [cut] it, shutting the targeted gene off.” In this instance, that targeted gene is the one that allows the DNA to search for abnormalities in the sequence. It’s used to help the sequence of the human genome to prevent the genetic diseases involving the genes of DNA. There two different methods of CRISPR–he CRISPR-Cph1 and CRISPR-Cas9. They both do the same job, but there are major differences between the two. CRISPR-Cph1 is different from other genome editing methods because it doesn’t need to have a “Cleaving enzymes” and specific RNA. Additionally, the CRISPR-Cph1 forms 2 complex RNAs that are smaller than those produced by other methods, which makes the changing sequence more simple. The CRISPR-Pf1 cuts differently than the CRISPR-Cas9, making it more efficient, more accurate, easier to fix mistakes and easier to target the human genome.Over time, CRISPR technology has helped prevent cancer and mental illnesses, and the Zhang lab has trained thousands to learn the CRISPR method. Now more than 40,000 scientists from across the globe are are trained in the usage of CRISPR. The new technology is making it possible to cure the impossible, and making the future generations ahead of us more advanced. So don’t be too surprised when that the diseases that once incurable can be treated.

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