What Is CRISPR Gene Editing?

Andre Fenton: CRISPR stands for: clustered,
regularly, interspaced, short, palindromic, repeats. That’s why it’s just called “CRISPR”. First discovered in bacteria, CRISPRs are
like bacterial immune systems. They have two key parts: a destroyer protein—like
one called CAS 9—and a piece of RNA that matches viruses that previously infected
the bacteria. If the same virus were to invade again, the
RNA would recognize the invader’s DNA, attach itself to its old enemy and its CAS partner
would slice the virus’s DNA—destroying it. A few years ago, some researchers realized
they could use CRISPR to edit the genome of any living organism. Here’s the idea: Say I have a stretch of
DNA—maybe a part of a gene—I’d like to change. If I know the sequence of letters there—I
can build a CRISPR that carries a matching code. Once inside the cell—CRISPR will scan the
DNA until it finds that exact spot. And when it does, it slices the DNA right
there. Now I have a broken gene…but it turns out,
I can now insert a new sequence into the gap, And that makes CRISPR potentially an extremely
powerful tool.


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