Topic- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
5) Discuss about the CRISPR gene editing technology and the concerns raised by it.(250 words)
Why this question
The CRISPR technology is a revolutionary technology which has enhanced our capabilities to edit genetic information. It finds use in many cutting edge research and clinical programmes. It is therefore important to discuss in detail about the technology as well as issues raised by it.
Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to write in detail about the CRISPR gene editing technology- a brief description, scope and its use. It also wants us to write in detail about the concerns raised by the technology.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the CRISPR technology. E.g Often described as “a pair of molecular scissors,” CRISPR is widely considered the most precise, most cost-effective and quickest way to edit genes.
- Discuss further about the technology in detail. E.g
- CRISPR forms an integral part of the “immune system” in bacteria, allowing them to fight off invading viruses. When a virus enters the bacteria, it fights back by cutting up the virus’ DNA. This kills the virus and the bacteria stores some of the leftover DNA.
- The leftover DNA is like a fingerprint, stored in the CRISPR database. If invaded again, the bacteria produce an enzyme called Cas9 that acts like a fingerprint scanner. Cas9 uses the CRISPR database to match the stored fingerprints with those of the new invader. If it can find a match, Cas9 is able to chop up the invading DNA.
- Its potential applications are far-reaching, affecting conservation, agriculture, drug development and how we might fight genetic diseases. It could even alter the entire gene pool of a species.
- It might be used to fight HIV infection, combat invasive species and destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- One particular leap in cancer therapy options is the genetic modification of T cells, a type of white blood cell that’s critical for the human immune system etc.
- Discuss the concerns raised by the technology. E.g
- One of the chief barriers to getting CRISPR effectively working in humans is the risk of “off-target effects.” When CRISPR is tasked with hunting down a gene, it sometimes finds genes that look very similar to its target and cuts them, too.
- An unintended cut may cause mutations in other genes, leading to pathologies such as cancer, or it may have no effect at all
- Gene editing can also be used to edit embryos and thus, change the human gene pool.
Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue