It’s me, Christopher, streaming live from The Guardian! I know, I know; it’s
already January 15, so I’m sure you’re wondering what today’s tantalizing topic
is. Well, today I’m going to be informing you about Gene Editing-Rewriting the
Code of Life. So let’s start with some basic background information. Each and
every one of our bodies is made up of a chemical called DNA; simply it is the
coding telling us to how to grow, live, and function. A gene is a small section
of a DNA strand and these are what are inherited from your parents to determine
your appearance. They are our body’s ‘biological templates’ to create proteins
and enzymes to construct tissues and organs. Get this: humans have around
24,000 genes them! Unfortunately, some people are born with genetic
malfunctions, creating harmful diseases such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia,
and muscle dystrophy. It’s not like they’re uncommon, too, because one in
twenty-five children is born with a genetic disease. That’s what makes gene
editing so exciting and essential. With gene editing, scientists and doctors
would able to rewrite the affected patient’s diseased DNA. But wait! That’s
definitely not all! Gene editing can do much, much more. It has already been
used to actually modify patient’s immune cells to fight cancer or resist HIV
infection. Researchers are also using gene editing to alter pig organs to make
them safe to transplant into humans.  Not
only could gene editing be a huge step to treating various diseases, but it is
also positively affecting the agriculture industry. It is a much quicker,
cheaper alternative to conventional genetic modification-one that allows
producers to perk up crops without using genes from other organisms.
Researchers have created seedless tomatoes, gluten-free wheat, and mushrooms
that don’t turn brown with age. You’ve heard all the mind-boggling things it
can do, so now I’m sure you’re wondering just how will it do these things? It
is done using a molecular tool called Crispr-Cas9 and what it is does is it
takes a guide molecule (otherwise known as the Crispr part) to find an exact
area in an organism’s DNA and then cuts it with an enzyme (otherwise known as
the Cas9 bit). The cell tries to fix the damage incorrectly, which successfully
turns the diseased gene off. To repair a damaged gene, scientists can inject a
healthy strand of DNA alongside the Crispr-Cas9 molecules.