Last Updated on March 16, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Genome editing is an immensely effective technique that can assist you with your study to address a multitude of concerns. In any case, though, it is not exactly the right tool for the task. Here is a discussion of the key benefits and drawbacks involved with genome editing using CRISPR.
Advantages and Disadvantages of CRISPR
CRISPR has become one of today’s most effective tools for gene-editing. CRISPR is inexpensive, relatively simple to use and reliable, unlike other genetic engineering tools. Its success has undeniably soared among scientists in the biotechnology industry.
While CRISPR’s advantages vary from treating genetic conditions to organ transplants, ethicists fear its use to encouraging desired attributes rather than life-saving traits such as intelligence that could have long-term consequences.
Advantages of CRISPR
1. Curing Genetics Disease
The genes that cause genetic disorders such as diabetes and cystic fibrosis can be removed by CRISPR technology. Provided that certain genes that causes genetic diseases have now been mapped by the science community, CRISPR may be used to cure defective genes that cause genetic diseases.
CRISPR-Cas9 editing is a comparatively inexpensive means of removing a gene or region, silencing or otherwise altering it. If you’re fortunate, from a colleague or collaborator’s lab, you can pick up Cas9 and direct RNA expression vectors, so all you need to acquire are your primers to synthesize the RNA vectors guide.
You can conduct the remaining preparatory steps in the laboratory, and the only other reagents you require are those that you can find in every genetic laboratory with cell culture facilities: cloning machines, cells, media and reagents for transfection.
3. Cancer Treatments
To cure cancer, new immunotherapies may be created using CRISPR. Scientists could genetically manipulate T-cells u sing CRISPR to find and destroy cancer cells.
4. Pest Resilient Crops
Genome editing could solve the pest and nutrition challenges facing agriculture, particularly in the light of climate change and population growth, according to Jennifer Doudna, the CRISPR pioneer. Earlier in 2018, due to the technology’s reliability, the USDA agreed not to control about a dozen crops edited with CRISPR as GMOs.
5. Simple to Amend Target
All right, it is not straightforward to set up the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing method for the first time. Before you have some success, it needs a lot of grafting to refine your procedure.
However once your protocol is up and running, in order to target alternate genomic regions for editing, it is very easy to ‘chop and change your configuration. What you need to do is plan and order your new RNAs guide, which can be incorporated in your up-and-running system afterwards.
6. Drug Research
Scientists predict that, provided the technology is relatively affordable, reliable and convenient to use, CRISPR may theoretically speed up the drug discovery process. Some of the world’s drug manufacturers are now integrating CRISPR technologies in their process of drug testing and discovery.
Disadvantages of Crispr
1. Not Efficient
In any genome editing experiment, editing performance can be affected by multiple factors and can seriously hamper your efforts. Editing performance basically represents the number of cells in your culture vessel that have been successfully edited.
An editing efficiency of less than 100% is by no means a failure, but it does mean that the findings need to be closely viewed. The unedited cells inside your population can mask any subtle impact of your editing.
2. Changes to the Germ-Line
A basic distinction needs to be made in medical applications between improvements to body cells and modifications to germ-line cells such as egg and sperm cells. The next generations are inherited through changes to the germ-line.
In Germany, as in a number of other European countries, germ-line interference is banned. In the case of monogenic genetic diseases, the US and the United Kingdom are considering exemptions.
However, it is not possible to predict the long-term consequences of this type of germ-line treatment. Ethicists are anxious that other characteristics, such as higher intelligence or larger muscles, may now be transferred into the genome if genetic abnormalities can be reversed at the embryonic level. How far from “designer humans” are we then?
3. Time Consuming
Not all laboratories have an existing pipeline for genome editing. If you are in a laboratory without such a pipeline but have established CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing as the perfect technique to further your research, then chances are that your PI will appoint you to build and refine the protocol. Optimizing a protocol for CRISPR-Cas9 can be difficult and time consuming. But you can do it with talent, luck and perseverance!
4. Off Target Effects
You have taken all the steps and designed your CRISPR guide RNAs to be precise and target only the genetic area you are interested in. You also double-checked that in the genome, the guide RNA sequence is unique.
At that one particular site, Cas9 should only cut, right? Incorrect. The CRISPR-Cas9 method is extremely precise in principle, but in reality not so much. It can cause mutations elsewhere in the gene, known as off-target’ modifications. Off-target impacts are random and can affect other genes or regions unduly.
5. Research and Responsibility
Considering all the unanswered questions, the German academies and the German Research Foundation (DFG) agree, that Germany should engage in research in this area and strive for the responsible implementation of the techniques involved. However, with respect to human germ-line changes that may be inherited to the next generation, the academies and the DFG, like other foreign scholars, are in support of an international moratorium.
On the contrary, Chinese scientists, using CRISPR/Cas9, have reportedly already modified the genome of human embryos. German academies of science advocate for a societal debate: before civilization attempts to rewrite its own DNA by germline interventions, it is important to address open problems and the related advantages and possible threats identified by the research community and society as a whole.