Unintentional Gene Deletions Kim

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05736-3

Title: “CRISPR gene editing produces unwanted DNA deletions”

Author: Heidi Ledford

Source: Nature (online)

Publication Date: July 16, 2018


In her article “CRISPR gene editing produces unwanted DNA deletions,” Heidi Ledford discusses researchers’ finding that the CRISPR gene-editing method has been evidenced to lead to unwanted DNA changes. CRISPR is a process by which an enzyme cuts DNA so that a cell can reseal the breaks using repair mechanisms. While CRISPR has become a very popular gene editing method that incites excitement for the manipulation of genetic material, researchers believe that the process has led to segments of deleted or rearranged DNA. Fortunately, this process is one that has been found to only occur in gene-editing techniques that rely on DNA cutting and not all CRISPR related modifications. The conclusion of the article is that while there should be more attention paid towards these unwanted edits in this system, CRISPR is still a medically proven technique that should still be used.

This article articulates a situation in which the population at large should want to know about. While this finding is important for an individual who may undergo a gene-editing operation, another important implication is for the greater population to understand the potentially harmful implications that gene-editing as a whole may have. With a wave of mixed perspectives on the discourse on genetic modification, this research suggests there is a need for fine-tuning before it becomes a sure-fire approach for treating different conditions. Moreover, this piece of information should not be kept a secret because it is something that can impact people differently depending on whether they know about the potential unwanted impacts of gene-editing.