Thursday, December 22, 2016

Crispy C.R.I.S.P.R.!

10 years ago,only a few would have thought that a device in our pockets would be good enough to access all the information of the world, would do social networking, calls, would calculate, act as a torch and what not. 

We today are on a similar brink ofrevolution in genetic engineering, where the effects would be so magnificent that they would need to be measured on a Richter scale! 

Enter CRISPR, which is an acronym for 'clustered regularly interspaced shortpalindromic repeats', a  crispy new technology which promises to shrink the costs involved in genetic engineering by 90%makes the procedure easier andshorter.

*What is it? 
We have managed to hack an antibacteriophage mechanism in bacteria to our advantage. 

Only a few bacteria survive bacteriophage invasion. To protect themselves from a further invasion, they store a part of the phage DNA into their archives. 

When another attack does occur, an RNA copy of the archived phage DNA is presented to what is known as a CAS 9 protein.

CAS 9 compares the two copies, one from the foreign DNA and the other from the archives, and is very precise at that. 

If it finds a 100% match, it cuts off thenew phage's DNA, thus rendering the attack a big embarrassment for the bacteriophage. :-p 

*What can we do with it? 
Oh, a lot of awesome things! 

-Pissing off viruses
In 2015, scientists armed with CRISPR achieved a significant reduction of HIV load from patiens. 
This year, in mice, they slashed off 51% HIV DNA from mice, just by a couple of shots in their tails! 

*Making cancer re evaluate its careerchoice
Malignant cell detection by the immune system can be enhanced. 

*Designer babies- 
A lot of desirable traits- super awesome eyesight, superman esque strength and so on, can be selected from a wide palette during embryogenesis.

*Bidding adieu to genetic diseases

*Making ourselves look hot at 120-

CRISPR holds the potential to slow and even reverse ageing! We can take a leaf off the books of certain aquatic species who already are doing that. 

.. and a lot more. 

*The last word
A few controversies sorround though.
- We don't know if any adverse 
  reactions may triggered, as our 
  knowledge is still just the tip of the
- Some powers like say dictators
   might use it to gain precedence.
- The fear of genetic pollution.

Anyway, these are just hurdles which we need to plan and overcome for a glorious future for humanity! 

Source- Kurzgesagt. 


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