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US Journal: CRISPR named as 2015’s breakthrough of the year

CRISPR, a gene-editing technique has been named as 2015’s breakthrough of the year by US journal Science on Thursday. The gene-editing technique helps scientists to edit the genome with accuracy, and can also be used for curing genetic diseases.

The method was also mired in controversy, after Chinese researchers edited the DNA of nonviable human embryos from a fertility clinic this year. The magazine also published a list of people choice winners — CRISPR, Pluto and Ebola vaccine. Science’s John Travis explained that since past year CRISPR had been a runner-up for the award, but a series of spectacular achievements, showcased its true potential.

“CRISPR may also revive the moribund concept of transplanting animal organs into people,” said Travis.

Havard’s “Science in the News” website explained that Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR) is an organization of short palindromic repeated DNA sequences found in the genomes of bacteria and other microorganisms. An investigation coordinated by the US department of Energy and National Institutes of Health called the Human Genome Project found that genome is an organism’s complete of DNA. Every genome hold all information needed for the growth and maintenance of the organism.

According to the creators of CRISPR, the tool allows scientists to replace a faulty gene with a healthy one. What makes CRISPR unique is that it is inexpensive and simple to use. However, the use of CRISPR seems to be controversial as the tool would help in tweaking human sperm, eggs or embryos, to correct faulty genes or add “improvements.”

Scientist Dana Caroll of the University of Utah said it represented the democratization of gene targeting. This year, scientists used the CRISPR to edit genes in pigs, making their organs transplantable into humans, and was also used make super-muscular beagles.

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