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CRISPR-Revolutionizing Scissors

Simran S. Mandhan, Priti Jain


CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindrome Repeats) technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It enables researchers to quickly alter sequences of DNA and change function of the genes. Its many possible uses include the correction of genetic defects, the treatment and prevention of disease spreads and crop enhancement. CRISPR is an instrument commonly used for scientific studies and many of the plants and animals in our fields, gardens or homes could have been altered with CRISPR in the not too distant future. In fact, some people are already eating CRISPR food. CRISPRs function as part of the bacterial immune system to protect against viruses invading. They consist of repeated Genetic Code sequences. The key to genome rewriting is a remarkable protein known as CRISPR Cas9 which occurs naturally as an immunity mechanism in many bacteria. The Cas9 protein acts like a pair of highly specific molecular scissors that can be directed to cut and therefore edit almost any gene in any organism. Guide RNA forms a complex with Cas9 that can identify and cut specific section of DNA. RNA harboring the spacer sequence helps Cas9 proteins recognize and cut foreign pathogenic DNA. CRISPR technology also has the potential to transform medicine, enabling us to not only treat but also prevent many diseases such as cancer, blood disorders such as thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, blindness, AIDS, etc. In just a few years, the technology has exploded in popularity thanks to its promise of making gene editing much faster, cheaper and easier than ever before.


CRISPR, DNA, RNA, Cas9, cancer

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