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CRISPR | Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats

CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. This technology is one of the biggest and most important breakthroughs in the field of science. It is a simple and most powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its potential applications are correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. It could revolutionize everything from medicine to agriculture. However, it raises ethical concerns.

In 1987, when Japanese scientists studying E. coli, they came across some unusual repeating sequences in the bacteria’s DNA. Back Then The biological significance of these sequences was unknown. Over time, other researchers found similar clusters in the DNA of other Bacteria and Archaea. They gave these sequences a name: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats aka CRISPR.

Finally, in 2007 a group of food scientists accidentally find the answer to the puzzle. When food scientists were studying the Streptococcus bacteria, which used to make yoghurt, found how these odd clusters actually served a vital function: They are actually a part of the bacteria’s immune system.

We all know that bacterias are always under constant Attack from viruses. So they produce enzymes to fight off viral infections. Whenever the bacteria’s enzymes manage to kill an invading virus, other little enzymes come along and scoop up the remains of the virus’s genetic code then cut it into little bits and store it in those CRISPR spaces.

The bacteria use the genetic information stored in this CRISPR to fend off future attacks. When a new infection occurs, the bacteria produce special attack enzymes, known as Cas9, that carry those stored bits of viral genetic code. When these Cas9 enzymes come across a virus, they see if the virus’s RNA matches what’s in the CRISPR. If there’s a match, the Cas9 enzyme starts chopping up the virus’s DNA to neutralize the threat. For a while, these discoveries weren’t of much interest to anyone except microbiologists, until a series of further breakthroughs occurred.

Scientists have figured out a way to use the immune systems of bacteria to edit genes in other organisms like plants, mice, even humans. With CRISPR, they can now make these edits quickly and cheaply, in days rather than weeks or months. The technology is often known as CRISPR/Cas9.

The genomes of organisms encode a series of messages and instructions within their DNA sequences. Genome editing involves changing those sequences, thereby changing the messages. This can be done by inserting a cut or break in the DNA and tricking a cell's natural DNA repair mechanisms into introducing the changes one wants. CRISPR-Cas9 is the one which can break into DNA sequences and Cut or Insert DNA sequence.

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