Jul 23, 2017 | Updated: 04:04 PM EDT

CRISPR: Gene Editing May Help In Creating Disease-Free DNA

Apr 11, 2017 06:15 AM EDT

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Adult students participate in a genomic laboratory workshop August 15, 2001 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
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As per medical science, the DNA structure in any person is indicative of his or her characteristics. These also include information about one's health, even his ability to succumb to harmful diseases in the future. A new research is trying to bank upon this idea to curb the development of deadly diseases in the human body.

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According to WebMD, the researchers are toiling hard to develop a procedure that can lead to rewriting the DNA which might cause a disease in a person. They are banking upon a new gene editing technique dubbed "CRISPR", which is otherwise known as CRISPR/Cas9, in order to alter the DNA of animals, plants and even human beings. The procedure is still under clinical trial in the US.

Reportedly, the CRISPR procedure is dependent on the genome which every cell in a body contains, which is more like the personal code of a human body. The scientists use the same process followed by the E.coli bacteria to edit the DNA. The E.coli bacteria cut the DNA of the harmful disease carrying virus into the half when attacked. The scientists are now looking to use the same DNA-cutting process for editing parts of cells in plants, animals and human beings that could lead up to causing diseases.

According to CNBC, the scientists are looking to introduce the CRISPR procedure to edit DNA in order to get treatments for several diseases. This includes some of the deadliest diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, lung cancer, metabolic liver disease, congenital blindness, and also blood disorders such as hemophilia. Currently, researchers are working on cutting DNA for the treatment of rare immunodeficiency conditions like the "bubble boy" disease. The cures, as per the experts, are expected to arrive in the next five years or sooner.

However, a number of technical as well as ethical hurdles are standing in the route of the CRISPR procedure from getting approved. Experts fear that there might be a misuse of the technology. Apart from it being used for finding a cure for diseases like Huntington's disease and Tay-Sachs, the CRISPR procedure can also be used for non-critical research efforts, such as the much-rumoured designer babies or diseases which already have alternate treatment.

The researchers are looking to implement the CRISPR DNA alteration procedure for curing a number of deadly diseases, but not without the chance of failure in some cases. Experts opine that the CRISPR technique needs a lot of research and development before being used on a mass basis for curing diseases.


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