From a post written by Mihalis Kritikos, posted by Scientific Foresight (STOA) at the EU:

A new technique to simplify gene editing might herald a new era of genetic modification. What are the benefits and potential dangers of this technique, and how should policy-makers respond?

The capacity to engineer genomes in a specific, systematic and cost-effective way is a long-standing objective in the field of genomic studies. Several ‘gene editing’ technologies have recently been developed to improve gene targeting methods, including CRISPR-Cas systems, transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs).

The CRISPR-Cas9 system currently stands out as the fastest, cheapest and most reliable system for ‘editing’ genes. It is seen as the biggest game changer in the gene editing field, due to its high degree of reliability and effectiveness, as well as its low cost. This technological trajectory is expected to enhance our capacity to target and study particular DNA sequences in the vast expanse of a genome.

CRISPR-Cas9 has the potential to cut the DNA of any genome at any desired location in many types of organisms, replace or add parts to the DNA sequence by introducing the cas9 protein, and appropriately guide DNA into a cell.

This extremely powerful tool could help molecular biologists to explore how the genome works.




About Scientific Foresight (STOA)

The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) carries out interdisciplinary research and provides strategic advice in the field of science and technology options assessment and scientific foresight. It undertakes in-depth studies and organises workshops on developments in these fields, under the guidance of the STOA Panel of 25 MEPs. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the European Parliament.

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NA Post (Ipad) Image Credit:   Amanda Scott, Alias Sydney


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