Gene editing: it is no longer science-fiction. Today’s scientists are using microscopic “scissors” to cut, alter and repair broken gene cells. This upcoming healthcare tool could be the answer to “incurable” genetic diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia and even cancer. Although the science behind it is still fairly new, gene editing may be the next big thing in ultra-personalized healthcare.
What is Gene Editing?
In many cases, genetic diseases occur when a mutation appears inside a cell. Although researchers have been able to identify which cells the mutations occurred in, little could have been done to repair the defective genes.
Gene editing allows doctors to use specialized molecular tools to remove, repair or replace damaged genes with a healthy copy. Although the technology is still a bit far off from being used regularly by medical professionals worldwide, animal trials have been successful. In fact, a team of Chinese scientists will be the first to test gene-edited cells in human patients this month.
CRIPSR, or “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” is the most advanced and effective gene-editing technique being utilized by scientists. CRISPR is inexpensive, easy to use and precise. Gene modifications using CRISPR have extended from corn and rice to mice and pigs.
What are the Benefits?
Although gene-editing within humans is still a few years away, there are many benefits you can reap from knowing the ins and outs of your own DNA. There are some companies that offer DNA testing, providing you with data on what you should be eating and how should be working out.
By having your DNA tested, you can discover what diseases you may be at risk for in the future. Knowing your genetic makeup can better prepare you for medical threats. And someday, you will be able to eliminate any those threats by editing your own genes.
Interested in learning more about your own DNA? Sign-up for our Patronus Genetics Wellness Program below.