Humans survived. After surviving a viral attack the

Humans have been
engineering life such as plants, food and animals for many years through a
process known as selective breeding. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that scientist
found out how they were able to do this and began trying to mess with the
genetic code of plants using radiation. In the 1970s scientist started to
insert pieces of DNA into animals, plants and bacteria to study and modify
them.  Up until now editing and modifying
the genetic code was “expensive, complicated and took a long time to do”.  All that changed because of a new breakthrough
technology known as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic
repeats or CRISPR for short. CRISPR allows scientists to “cheaply, quickly and
precisely” cut and edit a piece of any organism’s DNA.  This new technique was discovered through the
observation of a bacteria that was invaded by a virus and survived. After
surviving a viral attack the bacteria keeps a piece of the viruses DNA stored
in “its own genetic code in a DNA archive known as CRISPR”. When the virus
decides to attack again, the bacteria makes a RNA copy from the DNA archive and
arms a protein called CAS9. It then proceeds to search every part of the
bacteria for the virus by comparing every piece of DNA it finds until it finds
a match and cuts it out. Through this, scientists found out that “the CRISPR
system is programable” all you have to do is introduce a copy of DNA you want
to modify and then place it in a living cell. Aside from it being cheap, quick
and easy it is able to “edit live cells, switch genes on and off, and target
and study particular DNA sequences”. CRISPR opens up so many possibilities in
the medical field but there are also negative sides to using CRISPR.

There are many
ways that scientists are wanting to use CRISPR, one of them being to cure incurable
diseases and mutations. In 2015 scientists used CRISPR to “cut the HIV virus
out of living cells from patients in a lab”. The following year they had a
larger experiment done with rats that had the HIV virus in nearly all their body
and were able to get rid of more than half of it. Scientists hope that in a few
decades the CRISPR therapy will be able to cure HIV. They also hope that given
enough time the CRISPR therapy will be able to defeat “one of our worst
enemies” … cancer.  The first “clinical
trial for a CRIPR cancer treatment on human patients” was approved on June 21,
2016 and “not even a month later Chinese scientist announced that they would
treat lung cancer” this way. Genetic diseases such as, color blindness,
hemophilia and Huntington’s disease, are other things that ” a powerful tool
like CRISPR” might be able to get rid of. One of the downsides of this
procedure is that it changes the individual but won’t pass down to their
children unless you use the procedure on “reproductive cells or very early

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The problem some
people and scientists have with CRISPR is the question of “whether scientists
should be tinkering with the human gene pool at all”. Because although
scientists are wanting to use CRISPR to cure diseases they could one day
“switch their attention from curing hereditary diseases to editing supposedly
desirable traits into a person’s DNA” such as “high intelligence, tall stature,
or blue eyes”. Jennifer Doudna, a berkeley biologist who co- invented CRISPR,  states, “Great things can be done with the
power of technology – and there are things you would not want done”.

I believe that
although CRISPR is an amazing discovery and could help a lot in the medical
field, it will eventually be used to create modified humans. In which I believe
should not be used for. 


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