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CRISPR is not free from risks

by Editor (comments: 0)

Recently Nature Biotechnology reported CRISPR could cause mutations and genetic damage.  This new method of genetic engineering has been hyped as one of the most important breakthroughs in modern science. Now a new study reveals that the so called genetic editing technology has hidden risks and dangerous side effects.

As Sustainable Pulse writes that a systematic investigation of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in mouse and human cells has discovered that the technique appears to frequently cause extensive mutations and genetic damage that the researchers say wouldn’t be detected by existing DNA tests. It was detected that those effects included large deletions or mutations that happened even several thousand DNA bases (aka kilobases) away from the target site where CRISPR/Cas9 was used to make the edit.

Scientists raise alarm about the potential pitfalls of CRISPR

Allan Bradley geneticist at Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK is quoted:“This is the first systematic assessment of unexpected events resulting from CRISPR/Cas9 editing in therapeutically relevant cells. We found that changes in the DNA have been seriously underestimated before now.” A team from Columbia University made headlines in May 2017 with the findings that the genetic editing toolkit could introduce hundreds of off-target mutations to the genome. Later those claims could not be verified. But other studies also suggested CRISPR could cause dangerous side effects, sciencealert.com reports.


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