Genetic science has witnessed significant changes due to curating novel genome editing techniques. Amongst these varying technologies is CRISPR Cas9. This technique trumps others due to its ease of handling, increased accuracy, and cost-effectiveness.
CRISPR Cas9 has seen huge adoption in scientific fields linked to animals, humans, and the environment. However, it isn’t all smooth sailing from this genome editing route as it fields several issues, ranging from the application to bioethical problems.
Most CRISPR Cas9 concerns result from its usage in editing human germline embryos and cells (also known as germline genome editing). Germline genome editing poses many bioethical issues, including the unwarranted changes in the structural make-up of a genome, the process of obtaining informed permission, and eugenics (human species) rearing.
For CRISPR Cas9 to be used effectively across the board, all legislations worldwide must place their hands on deck and form laws with inputs from social scientists, lawmakers, and every investor in this genome editing industry.
In this guide, we’ll examine the inner workings of CRISPR Cas9 alongside some of its considerable risks.
An Introduction to CRISPR Cas9 and Its Main Uses
Biologists have sought ways to engineer DNA variations from time immemorial via genome editing accurately. The main reason for this endeavor was to change the genome and integrate newer functions or even a distinct mutation. To meet this purpose, many genome editing alternatives came to the fore.
Although many genome editing variations exist in the clinical research sector, CRISPR Cas9, also called “Clustered Replaced Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats Technology,” has become the most preferred medium for all genome editing activities.
As we’ve established, CRISPR Cas9 has multiple advantages, ranging from high accuracy to cost-effectiveness. Compared to the costs of other genome editing technologies like the Transcription Activator-like Effector Nuclease (TALEN) and Zinc-Finger Nuclease (ZFN), it’s easy to see why scientists are joining the CRISPR Cas9 train.
Due to the ease of CRISPR Cas9, any molecular laboratory that executes small to large-scale AAV production can facilitate its usage without hassles.
Genome editing techniques like the mentioned variations are vital in creating human disease formats and incorporating them into animals to test their spread and resistance. These technologies are also essential in developing life-threatening illnesses such as HIV & AIDS, cancer, and other genetic disorders.
Another aspect where CRISPR Cas9 comes to the fore is in the military. Although this area isn’t widely known in its application, some countries are adopting this genome editing technique to give soldiers a higher resistance to chemical and biological weapons.
What’s more? CRISPR Cas9 use is also dominant in RNA editing. Because RNA molecules embed more attributes than regular DNA variations, CRISPR Cas9 comes to the fore to offer more flexible solutions when compared to other genome editing methods.
Another area where CRISPR Cas9 comes in handy is altering human embryos. Back in 2015, some researchers from China adopted CRISPR Cas9 to dispel a mutation that caused a life-threatening blood illness — β-thalassemia. For this application, six faulty embryos that weren’t suitable for in vitro fertilization were incorporated. Although mutation was successful in two embryos, other genes felt its effects.
Nowadays, clinical researchers are adopting genome editing in somatic cellular forms to create efficient therapeutic forms. Despite the seeming advantages of CRISPR Cas9, this technique doesn’t glitter all the way as it has led to some problems in the safety of foodstuffs and clinical applications, AAV production inclusive.
Issues Stemming From CRISPR Cas9 Application
CRISPR Cas9 usage makes it difficult to seamlessly detect and analyze GMOs, also known as Genetically Modified Organisms, after they leave a laboratory that majors in genome editing and AAV production and purification.
With this in view, it’s expected that regulatory organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Europeans Medicines Association (EMA), must ensure that all GMOs making their way into the market are safe for consumption.
CRISPR Cas9 could also result in ecological imbalance. Due to the transmission of genes to other species in the environment, these organisms might integrate several negative attributes. Thus, even if a control plan were in place, it would not be easy to implement.
Like the AAV production protocol, genome editing is another mind-boggling technique that has the potential to revamp peoples’ lives and treatment of life-threatening illnesses. Despite its benefits, CRISPR Cas9 can reduce diversity greatly, giving room for social inequality.
Although this genome editing method seeks to correct bad genes, it’s important to understand that bad genes don’t necessarily lead to a reduced living standard. So, while scientists’ assumptions are valid, they shouldn’t become the norm for humans and other species.