Diseases CRISPR Could Cure

The majority of diseases that plague the world target individual’s deoxynucleic acids (DNA). Since most diseases embed themselves into individual’s genomes it was nearly impossible to cure diseases until the discovery of CRISPR CAS-9 in 2002. Discovered in prokaryotes and amoeba as an immune defense response is now being studied as a potential cure to DNA manipulating diseases such as AIDS, Blindness, and Muscular Dystrophy (Lander, 2018). CRISPR CAS-9 has the capability to target, cut, and replace specific regions of DNA anywhere in the genome.

Many systems have been studied and have had success with CRISPR from curing mice of sickle-cell anemia to increasing the longevity of mushrooms. In 2017, CRISPR was tested on human embryos suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which proved to be a viable option for future generations as a means to extinguishing this mutation from the human genome (Ledford,2017). CRISPR CAS-9 has a lot of potential in curing diseases and extinguishing many incurable diseases from the population, however there are many factors that need to be considered before CRISPR cures.

The criteria that is explored in this report includes the financial feasibility of CRISPR, the ethical implications of designer genomes, and the unpredictable long-term effects of gene editing. Based off of the criteria analyzed and the potential of CRISPR it is deemed not a feasible option to curing diseases.

CRISPR stands for “clustered regularly interspaced palindromic sequences” which refers to the nucleotide bases that make up a gene that reads the same backwards and forwards (Plumer, Barclay, Belluz, and Irfan, 2018).

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CAS-9 is a specific protein that acts like an enzyme when bound with CRISPR. CAS-9 piggybacks on CRISPR which sniffs out a targeted DNA sequence. Once the two proteins arrive, CAS-9 acts as a pair of molecular scissors and cuts the targeted DNA and replaces it with a sequence provided by CRISPR. The body will provide an enzyme called ligase that glues the DNA sequence back together creating a seamless stand of DNA that can be read by the cell (Plumer et al.).

CRISPR CAS-9 has unimaginable potential when it comes to curing diseases, especially gene related diseases. Since the complex has the ability to cut and replace strands of DNA, any gene mutations that are introduced or inherited can be cut from an individual’s genome. Some examples of diseases that are inherited include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Huntington’s disease, and heart disease (Fernández, 2018). The commonality of all of these is that they are caused by gene mutations. For example, Huntington’s disease is a neurological disorder which is caused by an abnormal repetition of nucleotides. CRISPR CAS-9 has the ability to cut out the abnormal repetition of nucleotides and replace them with normal sequences. In addition to curing inheritable disease, CRISPR CAS-9 can cure diseases introduced from the environment such as AIDS. The virus responsible for AIDS infects cells and inserts their RNA into our DNA which alters gene expression. Similar to Huntington’s disease, CRISPR CAS-9 has the ability to cut the infected DNA out of the genome (Fernández). Figure 1 shows the amount of research using CRISPR as a means of curing four very common diseases that plague a large population in the United States (Scival, 2018). The most amount of research is going towards CRISPR and cancer in which CRISPR could splice out the cancer-causing mutations. HIV, hepatitis, and muscular dystrophy are the leading diseases being studied behind cancer.

If CRISPR CAS-9 starts being used for non-therapeutic modifications such as changing hair color or athletic ability, genetic diversity could decline rapidly. Genetic diversity has been shaped by evolution for one very important reason, surviving. The bodies genome has adapted to its current state not due to chance but for a purpose. The word mutation often has a negative connotation due to their deleterious effects. Sickle cell anemia is a mutation that often gets a bad reputation since it affects red blood cells ability to adequately carry oxygen to cells. The misunderstood mutation also has the ability to provide its host with malaria resistance which has saved many individuals in third world countries hospital visits (Staropoli, 2016). Moreover, the mutation that causes cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disease, gives individuals immunity against tuberculosis. Although both malaria and tuberculosis have a readily available vaccine it is worth considering that other mutations in our bodies benefit us in some unknown way. If CRISPR CAS-9 starts curing individuals of one disease it is unknown what other incurable diseases may appear (Staropoli). Nature has an interesting way of balancing things out which if we as a population start altering it’s hard to predict the outcome.


CRISPR CAS-9 has astonishing potential however, the answer to the feasibility of CRISPR CAS-9 comes down to if the benefits outweigh the costs. Although CRISPR is remarkably cheaper than its competitors and holds a promising future, CRISPR CAS-9 is not a feasible option in curing diseases. This does not mean that CRISPR will never be a feasible option for curing disease, it just means the current research status of CRISPR CAS-9 does not support success due to the unpredictability and large ethical dilemmas.

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Diseases CRISPR Could Cure. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/diseases-crispr-could-cure/

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