What will give people the opportunity to edit their genes

Researchers dream of a gene editing capability in which DNA is removed or added to

correcting various genetic mutations. But what will this technology lead to if it becomes ubiquitous? This is covered in a BBC Science Focus Magazine article.

CRISPR is a technology thanks towhich is replaced by something or part of the DNA is completely removed. This makes it possible to prevent gene mutations. True, I must say that this is not the only such development, but the most versatile, simple and cheap than most analogues.

Treatment with CRISPR technology is alreadyreceived in 2019 by Victoria Gray. She suffered from a genetic disease - sickle cell anemia. The therapy proved to be effective, and she, like other participants in the experiment, now does not need medications or blood transfusions.

Scientists from the IGI, where it was developedCRISPR technology, now they are studying the features of not only sickle cell anemia, but also autoimmune, neurological diseases, cancer, COVID-19. It is planned that they can be cured by gene editing, as well as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease.

According to biochemist Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR can be used for the most part to prevent the onset of disease. True, there are several problems here.

First of all, it is ethics.Is this editing a god game? Next is the accuracy of editing. There is a possibility that a change in one part of the genome may lead to changes in another part of it. The worst-case scenario is that a person will develop cancer due to DNA damage.

Therefore, according to Dr. Ross Wilson, Director of Therapeutic Support at IGI, it is necessary to conduct clinical trials that prove the safety of the technology.

IGI employees are working on technologyCRISPRoff. It will make it possible to “turn off” a particular gene in a person without “cutting” the DNA chain. It is expected that the risk of unpleasant consequences will be lower in this case than with CRISPR.

But there is one very important problem that canbecome a major obstacle to the spread of gene editing treatments. This is the cost of therapy. Jennifer Doudna fears that technology will be available only to the “select” people, which will exacerbate the gap between the poor and the rich.

Source: BBC Science Focus Magazine