Where gene editing goes next

Where gene editing goes next

We know the basics of healthy living by now. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction can help us avoid heart disease—the world’s biggest killer. But what if you could take a vaccine, too? And not a typical vaccine—one shot that would alter your DNA to provide lifelong protection?

That vision is not far off, researchers say. Advances in gene editing, and CRISPR technology in particular, may soon make it possible.

Gene editing may be finally ready to go mainstream, treating many diseases and conditions—and not all of them genetic. In the future, we might be able to use the same approach to protect people from high blood pressure and diabetes, and dramatically improve their quality of life in the process. Read the full story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

CRISPR for high cholesterol is one of MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2023. Explore the rest of the list, and vote in our poll to help us decide what our final 11th technology should be.

These scientists used CRISPR to put an alligator gene into catfish

What’s happened? Millions of fish are farmed in the US every year, but many of them die from infections. In theory, genetically engineering fish with genes that protect them from disease could help to address the issue. A team of scientists have attempted to do just that—by inserting an alligator gene into the genomes of catfish.

Why an alligator gene? The alligator gene codes for a protein called cathelicidin which is antimicrobial, according to the team at Auburn University in Alabama. In theory, it could make animals that have the gene artificially inserted into their genomes more resistant to diseases.

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