It looks like the world of biomedicine is on the cusp of a revolution, thanks to a little thing called “CRISPR”. But what’s so special about it? And how exactly does it work?
This awesome animated video by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell gives a brief history of genetics and simply explains how the future of humanity lies within our understanding of genetic engineering and CRISPR.
CRISPR, or “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” if you want to be fancy, is a process found in the immune system of bacteria to protect itself from foreign DNA, such as viruses. In theory, if we can understand how this immune mechanism works, it could be applied to fight HIV, cancer, and ultimately end all disease. Just this week, it was announced that CRISPR is being used to tackle a whole range of blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.
Not only does it allow scientists to edit genes with great amounts of precision, it can dramatically cut the cost of treatment by 99 percent and reduce the time needed in studies or experiments.
It’s an exciting time for genetic engineering and it’s quickly turning science fiction into reality. But like all powerful ideas, it could also be a dangerous one. Check out this video to see how it works and why it is such a course-changing breakthrough.