Probing the DNA- A Journey from Anti-Cancer Drugs to the CRISPR Scissors

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It is the year 1964. Rosenberg is a Bio-Physicist. He is in his laboratory trying to study the effect of the electric field on the E-Coli bacteria. Thus, he accidentally finds that the bacterial cell elongates. The E-Coli bacteria grow 300 times their actual size but stop division. The multiplication or the division stop. It’s an unexpected result of an experiment. Why is this happening? Rosenberg finds this mysterious.

At last, he finds the answer. It is due to the formation of a compound known as Cis-platin. Hence, there is the formation of particles of Cis-platin around the platinum electrodes of the cell due to corrosion.

Thus, it is not due to the electric field. But due to the corrosion product, the cells of the E-Coli bacteria stop division. Further analysis proves that we can use the compound Cis-platin as an anti-cancer drug.

Thus, now it’s completely established that the Cis-platin binds with the DNA of the cancerous cells. It prevents further cell division. Hence, the first anti-cancer drugs come to the medicinal world.

By the time, numerous modifications bring drastic changes & new refined molecules are in use today.

It’s now the year 2020. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna get an award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 for discovering the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.

You may note the similarities between the two discoveries.

Emmanuelle Charpentier is studying a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes. She notices a previously unknown molecule called tracrRNA. Further studies reveal that this tracrRNA is part of the bacteria’s immune system, and it helps the bacteria destroy viral DNA. She published this discovery in 2011.

By using CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, a scientist can add or cut or change the DNA sequence. Thus, once more, this brings new opportunities for cancer treatment. If successful, it will eradicate cancer disease from the world. Besides, hereditary diseases will cure. This technique will be useful in plant breeding too.

Scientist says it’s a Scissor molecule to cut the DNA & replace it with a new genome code.



Problems Associated with this Technology

 It appears, there will be problems with ethics. Can we apply this technique to egg, sperms, or embryo? Producing gene-edited babies is all right & it is accepted.

But, there may be many disadvantages to this technique. Someone may use this technique to produce giant animals, giant humans, or dragons. The chances of going against nature increases.

Thus, it reminds us of the Hollywood movie ‘Rampage’. We know how much dragons create havoc on earth.

Thus, we hope the research will be helpful to eradicate cancer & such as hereditary & pandemic disease.

Also read: How safe is CRISPR.

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