By Michael Rebagliati
In addition to the cited sources, the author would like to thank a family member with far more scientific knowledge, Michael R. Rebagliati, Ph.D., for his essential scientific edits, commentary and analysis.
Right now, a new gene-editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9 is spreading throughout the scientific and business communities and into the public consciousness. The scientific implications are vast because CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is not just one scientific invention with one purpose. Rather, it is a natural process that has been harnessed and redirected into a gene-editing technique that is (relatively) easy to use. Moreover, its high efficiency means that scientists can use it to edit the genetic code of any gene in many kinds of organisms. Think Industrial Revolution for genetic engineering. Continue reading
By Miles Bludorn
The 1997 film Gattaca, set in “the not too distant future,” envisioned a world where parents possess complete control over the DNA they pass on to their children. The “future” forecasted in the film is now closer than ever with the latest advancement in genetic engineering known as CRISPR-Cas9 (“CRISPR”).
With the use of CRISPR, scientists, for the first time ever, can precisely edit, delete, and rearrange the DNA of nearly any living organism, including humans. Genetic editing using CRISPR takes place inside an embryo on what is known as the germ line. This allows scientists to edit the genetic material that can be inherited by the next generation. After altering, a genetic trait can be passed on to future generations. The potential of editing the germ line does not just mean that we will be able to control a child’s eye or hair color, it could also mean the ability to eliminate hereditary diseases altogether.