Genetic Editing Will Change the World, Here’s How
We are entering a turning point in medicine, as technologies such as gene editing are becoming advanced enough to be used for the treatment of countless health conditions. Driven by the innovations in biotech and genetics, gene editing could very well be one of the most disruptive and world-changing technologies of the 21st century.
Using a technique called CRISPR, scientists have been able to able the very source code of life itself – DNA. This technology could have major implications for the future of healthcare, biodiversity, and global well-being. Here are some of the most revolutionary for this exciting technology.
Curing genetic diseases
Genetic disorders are caused by a mutation in a person’s genes, and can be extremely difficult to treat effectively. However, with the use of gene editing, it may be possible to cure these difficult diseases once and for all. In what’s called somatic gene therapy, a patient’s DNA is edited to cure a genetic mutation, something that was previously thought to be impossible.
Bringing back extinct species
Researchers at Harvard are currently working on developing genetically embryos for long-extinct species. In the hopes of allowing for a resurgence of these species, genetic editing could make it possible for us to experience and study species that have not been around for thousands of years. This team of researchers say they are just a few years away from developing a viable embryo for an elephant-mammoth hybrid.
Eliminating disease causing viruses
Viruses like HIV have become quite treatable, but there are still no cures for this disease. However, with gene editing, humans may soon be able to have the opportunity to get an increased resistance to HIV. Scientists have already been able to develop genetic mutations in mice DNA that have produced natural resistance to an HIV infection. There has also been some success in using gene editing to develop bacteriophages – engineered viruses that can be used to fight off harmful bacterial infection.
Genetically enhanced food
As the world’s population continues to increase, we are faced with the concern of keeping up with the demand for a global food supply. By using gene editing, scientists have been able to dramatically expand crop yield and produce size. It will also allow for crops to be grown in harsher climates, making it easier for impoverished areas to have a more readily accessible source of food.