Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up.

They were worried about what people called “recombinant DNA,” the manipulation of the source code of life. It had been just 22 years since James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin described what DNA was—deoxyribonucleic acid, four different structures called bases stuck to a backbone of sugar and phosphate, in sequences thousands of bases long. DNA is what genes are made of, and genes are the basis of heredity.

Preeminent genetic researchers like David Baltimore, then at MIT, went to Asilomar to grapple with the implications of being able to decrypt and reorder genes. It was a God-like power—to plug genes from one living thing into another. Used wisely, it had the potential to save millions of lives. But the scientists also knew their creations might slip out of their control. They wanted to consider what ought to be off-limits.

I highly recommend reading if you’re at all interested in editing DNA to see the history of how the current tools have come forward, and why the power to do so should not be taken lightly.

Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology—and a recent study on genetically-engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal?

Source: Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

Everybody calls it CRISPR, but it’s Cas9 that does all the work. Ain’t fair.