It seems that the CRISPR technology is worth a court battle after the patent battle between the Broad Institute and the University of California. Now, several scientists are seeing light to this gene technology which can actually solve epidemics like malaria.
In an interview in Science magazine, evolutionary ecologist James Collins from the Arizona State University shared some insights regarding the possible contributions of the CRISPR technology. With the ability to edit genomes, CRISPR can actually be used in solving issues like the malaria. Through CRISPR, scientists can alter a harmful trait like that of the mosquito involved in malaria and they can actually spread it within the population. However, Collins emphasized that although this sounded good, there are several factors which needs to be further considered before applying the CRISPR technology to such case.
Collins shared that technologies like CRISPR which is used for gene drives are usually used for reducing a population size. It is indeed helpful since it can be used in cases like malaria, but people should be aware that this is a manipulation of the nature. Collins also mentioned some good instances such as for the case of Zika virus in Florida, USA where genetically modified mosquitoes were used to control the virus.
Gene drive technologies like CRISPR are continuously being monitored by the scientific community due to its innovative advantages. However, as early as last year, several scientists also noted that a regulatory framework must be made to avoid detrimental and adverse effects especially to the environment. Professor Jason Delborne of the North Carolina State University imparted in an interview with the New York Times that a regulatory model would be able to strike a balance between ethics and the thirst for new discoveries.
Now, the CRISPR patent issue is still on the buzz but apart from its legal aspects, the said technology also poses different effects especially to the environment. Indeed, more studies are needed to further prove the claims on this promising technology called CRISPR.