Gene drive technology is powerful and slightly frightening. But the coronavirus pandemic reminds us that we want to have multiple weapons in the public health arsenal, should we be confronted with another life-threatening microbe.
Can diseases be treated by modifying the genes of people with genetically-based disorders? Dr. Chris Gerry discusses CRISPR, a technology that edits the DNA in the human body. It has worked in a small number of cases. Does this mean that we have an immediate revolution in medicine on our hands? Or will it be just an esoteric experiment that will fail to live up to expectations? Maybe some of both.
Given the rogue nature of one scientist, should we expect "designer babies" to follow?
When the recent publication of a paper in Nature Methods claimed that using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique may cause unexpected mutations to occur, you might say that produced a collective gasp in the scientific community. But those who discovered CRISPR-Cas9 are not taking this criticism lightly – and they're fighting back.
Gene drives change the way that certain genes (and therefore traits) are inherited, or passed down through generations. Using CRISPR gene editing technology, the gene drives have the ability to cut and paste a desired gene into each organism, making a trait present in an entire population of organisms.
Don't be fooled by the rocks that she's got: Jennifer Lopez is just your average, everyday molecular biologist. Or, at least, she might be if a new TV show continues moving through the production pipeline at NBC. Her co-star will be a technique called CRISPR that has the ability to edit the genes in our DNA in a truly revolutionary way.
Almost every week there is another scientific/medical advance made using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Of course, we will continue to bring you news about all of the great ways in which CRISPR-Cas9 can be used in the future. But before we talk about medical advances, we first need to understand how the CRISPR-Cas9 system works.
Researchers at Temple University have been able to successfully eliminate HIV-1 viral genome from human CD4+ T lymphocytes, significantly reducing HIV viral load in ex vivo cultures.
Researchers have been able to identify a gene that determines maleness in mosquitoes, and if that were introduced into females it could potentially help wipe out the vector for the Zika virus infection. This method could also be applied to fighting other diseases such as yellow fever, Dengue and Chikungunya.
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a state-run agency that funds stem cell research, is considering funding research on human embryos using a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9. This could potentially allow for cures to be discovered for devastating inherited diseases.
Three independently-working groups have developed an effective, albeit temporary, therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to delete the defective gene and replace it with a functional gene. Although these succeeded in mice, human treatment will not be far behind.