Many are saying that CRISPR (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), a bacterial defense system which forms the basis for the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system, could accelerate the use of genetically modified foods but more importantly could be the key to fighting disease. It’s an exciting technology that provides far more efficient and cheaper DNA modification than what has been used previously. Governments around the world are scrambling to initiate new experiments using CRISPR which could lead to things like removal of allergens in peanuts, to growing human organs in pigs, to fighting diseases. Some fear the intervention of evolution by changing certain traits such as eye and hair color or even the inherited intelligence of a human being. Designer babies anyone? For now, CRISPR is primarily used to accelerate the testing of disease by simulating therapies through DNA editing. This could lead to far more targeted and effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects.
Currently, there is a patent dispute involving two publicly traded US companies – Editas (EDIT) and CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) with one winning a US Patent and the other a European. Certainly, the stock prices of these two companies could serve as a somewhat effective gauge as to how beneficial the CRISPR-Cas9 technology is to discovering disease fighting remedies.