Question: Discovery of CRISPR technology marks a watershed moment in genetic studies. Bring out various applications and usage of CRISPR technology.
Answer: Biotechnology as a stream has evolved tremendously over the last couple of decades. Genetic engineering has made possible modifications of universal genome. In this regard tools such as CRISPR and Cas-9 has contributed heavily towards the changes. CRISPR is known as biological scissors, that can cut DNA sequence and cas-9 is known as biological glue.
Applications of CRISPR technology
CRISPR technology can be used to make genetic engineered crops. These crops can have modification such as disease resistance, pest resistance, more production, soil adaptability, drought resistance etc. Genes responsible for above characters can be harvested from another plant and incorporated into modified one.
- Genetic disease cure
Genetic or hereditary diseases pass on from one generation to another through parents. If such diseases are diagnosed at early stage, the genetic material from foetus can be modified by using CRISPR technology to remove the defective parts and insert normal part.
- Designer babies
Human genes contain parts that gives characteristics to humans. By making modification to such genes, a human with desired characteristics can be obtained. Modification includes colour, height, intelligence, eye colour etc.
- Human mutations
Human genes can be modified to incorporate changes to modify humans in the future. In this way, humans can be made immune to diseases and possess extraordinary capabilities. But for that to take place genes that contribute to the change has to be identified.
- Disease eradication
Certain diseases caused by virus and bacteria can be eradicated if their genetic material is modified. By making changes, disease causing ability can be controlled and in future deadly diseases cease to exist. But changes can also result in mutations.
Issues in CRISPR technology
- Ethics of human designing
Human have evolved through natural selection and trying to artificially make changes resorts to malpractices. In such issues, diverse and special characters and uniqueness of humans will be lost due to artificial modification. Similarly, gene propagation through generation will be impacted.
- Biological war
Virus or bacteria can be modified to make them deadly to humans. Single microbe can be made resistant to medicine, which will result in deadly outbreaks. The impact would be devastating on future of human race.
Epoch-making technology such as CRISPR has to be regulated so that their extent of application remains ethical and does not invoke problems.
Thus, CRISPR is indeed a ground-breaking research and it should be utilised for welfare of humans. Before using the technology, the results must be appropriately analysed and studied.