"one of the biggest science stories of 2016
One of the biggest and most important science stories of 2016 will probably also be one of the biggest science stories of the next decade. So this is as good a time as any to get acquainted with the powerful new gene-editing technology known as CRISPR.
If you haven’t heard of CRISPR yet, the short explanation goes like this: In the past four years, scientists have figured out how to exploit a quirk in the immune systems of bacteria to edit genes in other organisms — plant genes, mouse genes, even human genes. With CRISPR, they can now make these edits quickly and cheaply, in days rather than weeks or months. (The technology is often known as CRISPR/Cas9, but we’ll stick with CRISPR, pronounced “crisper.”)
Let that sink in. We’re talking about a powerful new tool to control what genes get expressed in plants, animals, and even humans. The ability to delete undesirable traits and, potentially, add desirable traits with more precision than ever before.
In 2016 alone, researchers have shown CRISPR can do some truly astounding things, like create mushrooms that don’t brown easily or edit bone marrow cells in mice to treat sickle-cell anemia. Down the road, CRISPR might help us develop drought-tolerant crops, create powerful new antibiotics, or treat diseases like cystic fibrosis. CRISPR might one day even allow us to wipe out entire populations of malaria-spreading mosquitoes or resurrect once-extinct species like the passenger pigeon. And, while there are real limits to what CRISPR can do, researchers are working to overcome them.
http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2 ... yptr=yahoo
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