CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Panildromic Repeats is a Cas system in prokaryotes which is guided by a RNA and it aids in dematerializing foreign nucleic acids. CRISPR is a new technology where a Cas-9 is used which can modify the genes of the organisms. CRISPR has the ability to rearrange the genetic sequence of the DNA of living organisms (Michael Specter, Nat Geo). Even though CRISPR is capable of editing genetic sequence but according to research on different organisms it is also responsible for different genetic mutations which may cause muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis and many genetic disorders (Michael Specter, Nat Geo). CRISPR might be one of the beneficial things to us but its misuse will certainly give rise to many issues. The misuse of CRISPR can cause ecological disequilibrium, transhumanism and unpredictable environmental effect.
CRISPR is guided by RNA and there are many possible outcomes of mutations which might carry from one generation to another destroying the natural genetic sequence of the organisms making organisms deprived of their heritable traits and characters which will disturb the ecology (Rodriguez E, University of Chile). There is always an ethical issue arising that there might be greater risks of CRISPR than its benefits (Rodriguez E, University of Chile).There is a high risk of passing a gene with a negative trait to another organism beyond the borders (Esvelt KM, Catteruccia F, Smilder AL GM Church 2014).The gene flow of the organisms will be very difficult to control causing a drastic disequilibrium in ecology. There might be an accidental release of the organisms that are modified using CRISPR technology (Oye KA, Catteruccia F, Esvelt K, Appleton E, Church G, et al. (2014)). It requires a very precise research and safety measures to avoid any ecological disequilibrium.
Secondly, there are many therapeutic interventions in the somatic cells of the human using the genome editing technology which can significantly affect the germline of the human (Ding C, Huang R, Liang P). Due to the genome editing technology on the human germline the genome can be passed from one generation to another, to form eggs, gametes and embryos raising a serious ethical questions and issues (Otieno MO, Ishi T (2015)). Since the CRISPR technology uses Cas-9 system there is always chance of unpredictable results and mutations which might carry from one generation to another generation. It is difficult to form a informed consent where there is a possibility of high risk of mutation being passed on from one generation to another (Billings PR, Newman SA, Hubbard R). Scientists support the CRISPR technology but they don’t see it as advance enough to make genetic and heritable changes on human (Collins F 2015)
CRISPR uses a gene drive technology. Gene drive is a process in which an edited gene is allowed to a habitat of an organism. If only one of the progenitors has a mutated DNA then that will be passed to offspring (Catholic University of Valencia). The negative effects of it might cause a massive reduction of the organisms which may result in an entire loss of the population. It will cause a massive environment effect as there may be extinction of many species of plants and animals (Ledford H). Use of CRISPR technology is very risky also as it has many flaws so there is always a chance of causing a greater environmental effect (Michael Specter, Nat Geo).
There are certainly disadvantages of CRISPR but this new technology is quickly taking world by storm. Most recently CRISPR is being deployed as one of the technology to cure HIV/AIDS and it is used as an biological tool to eliminate the disease spreading mosquitoes and to avoid chemical pests in crops by using a biological way to make crops disease resistant and more harvesting (Michael Spencer, Nat Geo). It is helping to build human animal chimera as it is making organ transplanting efficient so people don’t have to wait others to donate their valuable organ (Polcz S Lewis). CRISPR when used properly have made a drastic positive change in this world.
In conclusion, due to CRISPR there are many issues and controversies. One of the main issue are ethical issue and social issue. There is always a high risk when using CRISPR technology as it might cause mutation which might cause ecological disequilibrium, transhumanism and environmental effect. Although, CRISPR might have its own risks but it is being deployed as a serious means for different research on Biology such as cure of AIDS, human animal organ transplantation, disease resistant DNA.