Jump to navigation. Never had a yoghurt generated so much expectation. Nor so much controversy. The CRISPR-Cas9 system was discovered for the first time back in , when Philippe Horvath and Rodolphe Barrangou were studying why certain bacteria suffered viral infections which reduced the productivity and yield in cultures. Scientists at Danisco, later acquired by DuPont, had devoted themselves to sequencing the genome of Streptococcus thermophilus , a well-known bacterium in industrial cheese and yoghurt production. When studying this micro-organism, they realised that it contained repeated genetic sequences, which they called CRISPR.
|Published (Last):||7 February 2019|
|PDF File Size:||19.52 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||17.56 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Jump to navigation. Never had a yoghurt generated so much expectation. Nor so much controversy. The CRISPR-Cas9 system was discovered for the first time back in , when Philippe Horvath and Rodolphe Barrangou were studying why certain bacteria suffered viral infections which reduced the productivity and yield in cultures.
Scientists at Danisco, later acquired by DuPont, had devoted themselves to sequencing the genome of Streptococcus thermophilus , a well-known bacterium in industrial cheese and yoghurt production. When studying this micro-organism, they realised that it contained repeated genetic sequences, which they called CRISPR.
Despite their unpronounceable name, the sequences served the microbes as virus recognition systems, fending off viruses with interfering RNA molecules. What they were faced with then was not merely a quirk of these lactic bacteria, but a key mechanism in adaptive microbial immunity. Thus was born a new revolution in the history of genetic engineering. Not only owing to its countless applications in fields such as medicine with the development of modified macaques to better study disease or to precisely cure different pathologies , agriculture and the environment, but also due to its similarity with the "molecular scissors" which has enabled the spectacular development of biotechnology that we have witnessed in recent decades.
Undoubtedly, genetic modification has been instrumental in achieving, among other breakthroughs, recombinant insulin, crops resistant to drought or saline conditions, new vaccines and micro-organisms that clean up contaminated areas. Nonetheless, this scientific progress has been marked by extensive bioethical controversy. The birth of recombinant DNA technology was received positively, although it also gave rise to misgivings and fears owing to its implications. The same is now occurring with CRISPR-Cas9, a system which is characterised not only by editing the genome, but particularly by doing so in a swift, precise and effective manner.
The similarities between the birth of genetic engineering and Doudna and Charpentier's genomic editing have led a number of researchers to express the need to promote another Asilomar 2.
As Richard J. Just like what occurred with recombinant DNA technology, the creators of CRISPR-Cas9 systems are fully aware of the important bioethical implications entailed with this scientific breakthrough.
The document suggested the need to discuss the social, environmental and ethical implications of this technology, also urging the scientific community to refrain from using CRISPR-Cas9 to genetically modify the germ-line for possible clinical applications in humans. Was science more rapid than bioethical reflection?
For this reason, the meeting held in Lindau, with the attendance of young researchers and Nobel Prize winners, drew attention to the need to encourage a rational debate, in which the importance of communicating scientific results to the community is also highlighted.
The expert agrees with the need to organise a conference similar to Asilomar, although he points out that the debate should also address all possible genetic engineering tools, not only that created by Doudna and Charpentier.
Greely also affirms that, as occurred with recombinant DNA, this technology may have an impact on the planet's biodiversity, in addition to being the focus of debate in other matters related with industrial property and patents.
So what will happen from this point on? As all the specialists consulted explain, we stand on the threshold of organising a second Asilomar in the middle of the 21st century. And what will the outcome be? Although it is difficult to predict the outcome of bioethical debate, researchers such as J. Log in Apply for an account Contact us. Powered by Open Consortium.
Beneficial AI 2017
The Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA was an influential conference organized by Paul Berg  to discuss the potential biohazards and regulation of biotechnology , held in February at a conference center at Asilomar State Beach. The conference also placed scientific research more into the public domain, and can be seen as applying a version of the precautionary principle. The effects of these guidelines are still being felt through the biotechnology industry and the participation of the general public in scientific discourse. Recombinant DNA technology arose as a result of advances in biology that began in the s and '60s. During these decades, a tradition of merging the structural, biochemical and informational approaches to the central problems of classical genetics became more apparent.
CRISPR-Cas9: the keys to understanding a scientific breakthrough marked by bioethical controversy
Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA