CRISPR, The Gene-Editing Technique Has A Dangerous Flaw.
The development of efficient and reliable ways to make precise, targeted changes to the genome of living cells is a long-standing goal for biomedical researchers. Recently, a new tool based on a bacterial CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease (Cas9) from Streptococcus pyogenes has generated considerable excitement. However, messing with a person’s DNA is an entirely different matter, and can have hundreds of unexpected consequences, causing genetic mutations that scientists cannot predict, researchers warn. In a study in the journal Nature Methods, a group of scientists describe combing through the DNA of mice that had been modified with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which allows scientists to remove and replace certain genes in a living thing’s DNA. In the two mice, who had been cured of blindness with the treatment, there were about 1,700 small and unpredicted changes throughout their genomes, affecting single nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA, in places that the gene-editing tool had not been used to modify. There were also more than 100 larger changes.
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