Gene engineering refers to the action of altering the genetic code of a living organism. Changes are usually connected to deleting nucleotides to knock out a gene or adding new ones to create a mutation. It can occur at the DNA, RNA, or epigenetic levels.
It’s important for research as it can show which genes can have negative effects on human health. In recent years, scientists have discovered many ways to edit and change the genetic code and increased the public’s interest in gene engineering.
If you want to know more about gene editing, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll share six things you wanted to know about genome engineering. Plus, we’ll mention all of the industries that can use genetic editing to create solutions that would benefit large communities.
History of Genome Editing
When we take a look back at the history of gene editing, scientists have made astounding progress from discovering the DNA chain all the way to the introduction of CRISPR. The double helix discovery in 1953 was the first step toward understanding how the DNA chain looks and functions.
Later, in 1972 scientists found a way to introduce a genetic code from one organism to another artificially. It led to the creation of the first transgenic animal with foreign DNA in its genome.
And in 1999, there was a breakthrough as scientists were able to map the whole human genome. This gave scientists unparalleled knowledge about certain diseases and numerous drug responses tightly linked to the human genome.
How Scientists Utilize Genome Engineering
Due to many scientific discoveries in the past few years, CRISPR is now mostly associated with studying various gene functions. Once scientists remove one gene, they’re able to track how the organisms will develop. Places like Bitesize Bio’s CRISPR research hub actively help their clients set up their CRISPR experiments.
One of the best ways to utilize this approach in medicine, specifically drug production. It’s possible to understand the role genes play in disease development and how they can have a stronger influence on certain cells.
Genome Engineering and New Medication
Medicine is the best place where we can see the power of genetic engineering. The ability to modify genetic code allows researchers to find effective ways to prevent, study and treat diseases that were seen as incurable. Plus, it gives valuable information about the genetic code that the illness carries.
New medicine led to safer and more efficient therapies for some diseases and helped people recover. However, the process of drug discovery often requires expensive equipment and a lot of time spent in the lab. It’s a time-consuming process that requires an arduous process of checks and balances before the drug is introduced to the public.
Even cancer medicine and immunotherapy are routed in genome research. Doctors and scientists agree that it’s the best know way to discover a complex medication that would be able to treat millions of people with enormous success.
Genome Engineering and Its Importance for Agriculture
You’ve probably heard of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Those are plants that have modified DNA to produce better yields every year. These crops have become incremental for the food supply as they’re addressing non-GMO plants’ problems.
In agriculture, scientists are now using engineered cattle and salmon to create disease resistance and increase food sustainability. And they’re doing it with remarkable success so far.
When it comes to crops, CRISPR is applied only to specific crops to improve food intolerance and food spoilage. Science has become an integral part of wine and food production in many regions across the US. Among all crops, most genome research has been conducted on wheat, and so far, it’s had a profound impact on wheat production in all the best ways.
CRISPR Technology and Infectious Diseases
HIV is a disease that integrates into the human genome and causes AIDS. Today, there’s a number of scientists trying to contemplate how to use genetic modifications to inactivate or simply remove integrated HIV genomes from a patient’s DNA. Since it’s possible to remove the integrated HIV DNA in vitro, there’s a chance that this technology could work in clinical conditions.
Allergies are also a big interest among CRISPR scholars. Since more than 3% of children worldwide have chicken egg allergies, there’s an idea to create a hypoallergenic egg that would no longer develop allergies. Also, with many people experiencing a more allergic reaction to certain types of food, genome editing might solve some of their problems. There’s a lot of work on this concept, but then we’ll have a new type of egg very soon if it proves right.
Genetic Engineering in the Biofuel Industry
The ability to change the genetic code helps scientists and engineers protect the environment by including biofuel research. Using genome editing technologies to tackle the biggest environmental issues is already showing some promising results. Exploring the new possibilities of sustainable and renewable energy is one of the key interests of several science teams.
The Future of Genome Engineering and Research
With the discovery of CRISPR, the future of genome engineering looks bright. Since we have this tool for more than ten years, we have already changed how we look at biomedical experiments and research. Not only that it’s now possible to use it for food and medicine production, but it’s incremental in treating diverse types of disease.
Clinical trials of CRISPR are in the works, and if they prove successful, it might mean that there will be no boundaries for creating incredibly successful medical treatments in the future. When we use it on plants and animals, we can help them adapt to different conditions in a matter of months, not years. However, some ethical concerns should be addressed in the US scientific community.
Lastly, there are ways to make genome editing more optimized for different purposes, and the technology will surely develop in many new directions. For now, we know that future CRISPR research will transform any scientific field and that it can bring a lot of benefits for humans and their environment.
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