10 Ways CRISPR (Gene-Editing) Can Fight Poverty
By Joe McCarthy on Nov. 27, 2015
Have you heard of CRISPR? Maybe you’ve heard the full term: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats–or maybe not.
If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll start hearing the snack-sounding acronym soon. It’s some revolutionary stuff. Equal parts thrilling and terrifying, it’s the most powerful genome editing tool ever discovered.
Basically, CRISPR allows someone to edit an organism’s DNA, to turn off or on certain traits and to introduce new traits entirely.
In the past, editing DNA was incredibly difficult, time consuming and imprecise.
CRISPR is basically the opposite: cheap, easy to use and precise.
It’s made up of a “guide” RNA that can locate a specific bit of DNA and a scalpel-like enzyme called “CAS9” to precisely cut that bit out. It can also be equipped with a replacement bit of DNA to replace what was cut out.
There’s been a flurry of CRISPR research in the past few years as the scientific community tries to get a grip on the limits of this method–which seem endless–and also refine their understanding of how it can and should be used.
This kind of science seems like science fiction, but it could impact the lives of people around the world.
Here are some ways that CRISPR could impact poverty in the years to come: