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 CRISPR Gene-Editing Ignites Tons of Unintentional Genetic Mutations

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PostSubject: CRISPR Gene-Editing Ignites Tons of Unintentional Genetic Mutations    Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:28 pm

CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing has been hailed as one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of our lifetime. The technology is often called “molecular scissors” for its ability to “cut and paste” pieces of DNA, thereby removing unwanted traits and replacing them with more desirable ones. CRISPR is being celebrated for its accuracy, but a recent study sheds light on some imperfections surrounding the technology that we should be aware of.



When researchers at Columbia University used CRISPR-Cas9 to correct blindness in mice, they found that the process did successfully edit the gene responsible for blindness. However, it also caused unintentional mutations to more than 1,000 other genes. It’s exactly what critics of the technology have been warning about – that in the process of “fixing” part of the human genome, scientists could actually wind up doing irreparable damage. [1]
Read: British Research Gets Green Light to Edit Human Embryos

Study co-author Stephen Tsang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology, pathology, and cell biology at CUMC, Columbia’s Institute of Genomic Medicine, and the Institute of Human Nutrition, said:
Quote :
“We feel it’s critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR, including single-nucleotide mutations and mutations in noncoding regions of the genome.” [2]
CRISPR alters specific DNA sequences, but fails to correct the side effects that occur as a result.
There are currently 2 clinical trials involving humans underway in China, and a U.S. trial is slated to begin sometime next year. As many as 20 trials are in the works. One of the trials is aimed at preventing cervical cancers by using CRISPR to target and destroy the genes of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause tumors. [1] [3]
Here is a video talking a little bit about CRISPR.



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