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CRISPR Essay, T. Nguyen

CRISPR > Disease and Aging
Death is inevitable; there’s nothing to change that. Thousands of people die every
single day from aging and diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency
virus/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). CRISPR/CAS9 is a possible solution to
these deadly diseases. When an infected cell appears, a healthy one replaces it and the
infected cell is killed. CRISPR can prevent/kill diseases, make people live longer, and boost
the intelligence of babies. Therefore, people should use CRISPR to modify DNA.
CRISPR can treat many diseases, which is the most common factor of death.
According to “What Could CRISPR Do Tomorrow?”, scientists have developed a
CRISPR-based drug that treats heart disease, blood disorders, and even blindness, which
were thought to be incurable. In 2016, CRISPR has begun experimenting with 99% HIV
infected mice and once injected with CRISPR, 48% of the virus was removed from their
DNA! According to the “Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever” video,
scientists are beginning to make a version of CAS9 that simply changes “a single letter,
fixing the disease in the cell”. CRISPR can easily treat an infected cell by using immune cell
shots that eliminates the disease within the human body. The many fatal diseases today
can easily be treated with a shot of CAS9 which is why CRISPR should be used for its
abilty to treat illnesses.
Other than the risk of diseases, CRISPR can be used to live longer. Aging and
death is a constant fear for elders, they want to see their grandkids’ first steps and words
but aging prevents those special moments from happening. The video says that the
“combination of genetic engineering and other therapy could stop or slow down aging,
maybe even reverse it.” There are animals like lobsters, planarian, and turritopsis
nutricula that are immune to aging… maybe we can borrow some cells for ourselves?
“What Could CRISPR Do Tomorrow” suggests that humans can be hundreds of years old
before dying just by using CRISPR, the aging cells would be replaced with healthy human
cells. We modify our telomeres, which determines the lifespan of a living cell. Modifying
these cells essentially slows down aging and helps the human race live longer than
Finally, CRISPR can be used to edit babies. If parents wanted their baby to have
bright blue eyes, brown hair, and be extremely intelligent, CRISPR can help with that.
James Lee, a researcher of the University of Minnesota, says that “CRISPR could in
principle be used to boost the expected intelligence of an embryo by a considerable
amount” or just make a baby a lot smarter. A recent study has identified 74 genetic
variants which showed mistakes in single nucleotides the six billion letter genome, that
could be fixed. This simple modification to the cells allows babies to be healthier, smarter,
and have good attributes.
People may argue that CRISPR should not be used because it's likely a mistake
could be made. The video compares CRISPR to a “DNA surgeon” and a “GPS system”
because it is very precise. Once a virus begins attacking, bacterium automatically begins
making an RNA (ribonucleic acid) copy from the DNA copy and prepares a protein, CAS9.
CAS9 scans the bacterium’s insides for signs of the virus invader by comparing all DNA to
the saved sample. Once the replica is found, cuts out the virus and protects the bacterium
from the attack. Scientists have already tested CRISPR on an organism that’s similar to
humans: rats. Scientists experimented with 99% HIV infected mice and once injected with
CRISPR, 48% of the virus was removed from their DNA. This experiment, as well as many
others, are proof that CRISPR has been used enough to be able to improve one’s life.
The ability to cure diseases, prevent aging, and designing babies is a very powerful
tool that humans should take advantage of. CRISPR/CAS9 should be used because it
allows life to be longer and greater one cell at a time. Instead of contemplating about the
end of the road, CRISPR lets you look ahead for your next goal.