Splicing and Dicing

CRISPR, which is more formally called CRISPR-Cas9, is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Inter-spaced Short Palindromic Repeats. I can’t speak to what CRISPR is in terms of the acronym, but it is essentially removing and adding genes to any organisms genome by use of Cas9, which is the enzyme used to cut out the unwanted parts of a DNA sequence. There are many beneficial applications of CRISPR, including the ability to remove diseases out of a genome. This has several applications, including removing the genes that cause bloodborne diseases in mosquitos, gets rid of the disease in pig organs that prevents humans from using them to provide more transplantable organs, as well as modifying crops to bypass some of the flaws in traditional genetic plant modification. There is also an unknown side of CRISPR that prevents us from using the technology. Taking the mosquitos for example, there is a risk to releasing a lab generated population of mosquitos into the wild because even though they could help deplete the gene pool of the disease carrying mosquitos, there could be other implications to the genetic modifications that we don’t know about. Another reason that CRISPR can be risky is human use of the technology. One of the most important concerns is using it to modify traits when not absolutely necessary. While CRISPR can be properly used to remove a disease from someone’s genes, it could also be used to modify physical traits. If someone were to use this to make their child taller or lighter skinned or have some other more seemingly desirable trait, it could create another cycle of selective reproduction. If CRISPR technology becomes available for human use, a believe that a second wave of eugenics is highly likely if not properly regulated.

Published by chasedboyd1

Hello! My name is Chase and I’m a computer science major at Montana State University.

One thought on “Splicing and Dicing

  1. I may have missed the part on the lab generated population of mosquitos if it was in the reading, but I think you brought up a good point. That point being that there is a margin of error and unknown when releasing a population of lab-created creatures out into the wild with the possibility of it being proactive in its purpose, but also possibly of something going terribly wrong. I think overall CRISPR technology is still in the grey area of possibility. Great post!

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