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Tech 24

CRISPR-Cas9: The era of genome editing

Julia Sieger.
Julia Sieger. © FRANCE 24

It's called CRISPR-Cas 9 and while the name may not sound impressive, don't be mistaken: this gene-editing technology is set to change our world in many unpredictable ways. We take a closer look in this edition of Tech 24.

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It's often referred to as "DNA scissors". CRISPR-Cas 9 is a powerful tool that scientists can use to edit DNA and modify gene functions. It was created by researchers Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier in 2012 and it could help eradicate genetically-based diseases like Alzheimer's and HIV.

However, as our reporters Naibe Reynoso and Valérie Defert explain, this technique is becoming available to the public even as it's still being tested for safety. Officials in the state of California are worried its use could get out of control.

An important application of genome editing is so-called gene drive, which could help put an end to malaria by altering the genomes of entire mosquito populations. 

Our guest Dr. Jacob Corn, Professor of Genome Biology and Principal Investigator at the Corn Lab, ETH Zurich tells us how it could also be the solution to producing more food and doing so more efficiently to feed the world's growing population. 

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