Tuesday, December 7, 2021


 CRISPR is a type of technology that can be used to edit genes and works by locating a specific piece of DNA inside the cell. This technology was released in 2012 and has since revolutionized the way scientists can edit genes, both for speed and cost. CRISPR is very exciting technology used to edit genes that we will be seeing in our food, plants, animals, and medicine for years to come. The process works relatively fast compared to the original ways of editing genes.

The Cas9 protein is added to a cell with a piece of guide RNA that has a specific sequence, which allows the CRISPR Cas9 to locate and bind to a specific DNA strand within that cell. The RNA guide strand has about a 20-nucleotide strand that locates and binds to this DNA. When in position, the Cas9 protein can cut the DNA at the target site, essentially turning off that targeted gene, thus editing the gene and cell. This is the most common use of Cas9 and CRISPR, which stands for  clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.

CRISPR has been used in some promising research lately. One example is its effect on the disease called Transthyretin amyloidosis. This disease is hereditary and affects about 50,000 people worldwide. The disease is caused by mutations to the TTR gene which then go on to affect functions with the organs and lead to heart disease, and in some cases even death. So, CRISPR has been shown to reduce the mutated gene by up to 87% when patients were treated properly. One patient even saw a decrease in TTR protein by 96%, which severely lowered the symptoms of the disease and even offered room for healing. This research proves very promising in future studies for treatment of many different deadly diseases, especially hereditary ones that require some gene editing. There is room for improvement, as CRISPR has worked on these mutated genes and proteins on cells outside of the body that then must be infused back to the body. If researchers could find a way to control CRISPR inside the human body to actively edit genes, we could see a major decrease in disease rates. Hopefully these next steps will soon be made possible, as some researchers report being able to infuse the CRISPR Cas9 protein into living bone marrow of mice. Genome editing should see a boost of support and application with the CRISPR method for years to come.


  1. I think CRISPR is a great technology being developed as it has the potential to treat diseases in a whole different way and potentially more successfully. I wonder how the different ethical issues that are debated regarding its use affect the speed in which this technology is being developed?

    - Zach Conant

  2. Hi Tyler,
    I'm glad someone wrote about CRISPR. It's such a fascinating thing to study in Biology and I feel as though every time CRSPR is mentioned, something new has been found associated with it. I wonder what else we can accomplish using CRISPR in the next few years.
    Hannah K

  3. Hi Tyler!
    Great post! CRISPR is really cool! CRISPR has so many different uses in science and the research on it is constantly being updated and reviewed due to its popularity. However, I also know that there are some drawbacks with it, specifically with things like designer babies. Again, great post!
    Sarah Conant

  4. I think that it's super fascinating that we are advancing gene editing methods. I think gene editing could be a huge step forward for modern medicine and disease prevention! Hopefully such an advancement occurs soon.

  5. Hey Tyler!
    I've been very interested in the technology behind CRISPR. It's fascinating how progressive it can be in regard to implications in humans. Do you have any concerns relating to the ethics of it?