You may have heard of or read about CRISPR (gene editing mechanism) over the years as some controversial research has been conducted and scrutinized, but what you probably didn’t read about was all the beneficial uses of using a system called CRISPR-Cas9 to alter genes on a cellular level. The CRISPR system is a naturally occurring mechanism in bacterial cells that is used to edit the DNA as a natural form of defense against bacteriophages (bacterial viruses)(1). The benefit that we gain from using this natural mechanism is the ability to correct errors in the DNA of organisms to achieve specific results by introducing or removing genes at specific locations. The amazing thing about this system is how incredibly easy it is to use as we have come to find out during the molecular microbiology lab where we have performed several experiments with the use of CRISPR as a proofreading mechanism to ensure the non-pathogenic organisms we are working with incorporate the new genes into its DNA to become antibiotic-resistant.
Redman M, King A, Watson C, King D. 2016. What is CRISPR/cas9? ADC Education & Practice Edition. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.