destroy invaders12 When the benefits of Cas9 were discovered the CRISPR
technology really took off in the research laboratory.
13 The use of Cas9
dramatically improved both the efficiency and accuracy of the CRISPR
The technology, which can be used to make specific changes in the DNA
of plants and animals, has become instrumental to studying disease systems
in the lab because of its low cost, precision, and ease of use.
15 Unlike other
genome editing methods, scientists can use it to change any stretch of DNA
in a genome, as long as they know the sequence to target.
16 CRISPR allows
for rapid development of mouse models for studying the modification of
17 Previous tools required up to a year —from designing
the mutated gene to rounds of mouse breeding to ensure that mouse offspring
have the correct genetic mutation.
18 CRISPR is much faster—only two
months are needed for a mouse model, since the components are more easily
introduced into the embryo without using multiple breeding steps.
CRISPR is an ideal genome engineering technology.
20 Scientists describe
the benefits as high potency and specificity, broad application to both in vivo
and ex vivo applications, and simple editing tools to speed the process of
scaling and optimizing.
21 These traits make CRISPR an incredible tool with
the remarkable ability to modulate genes, address any site in the genome,
target multiple DNA sites simultaneously, and program them to delete, insert
or repair genes.
12. Questions and Answers About CRISPR, BROAD INST.,
https://www.broadinstitute.org/what-broad/areas-focus/project-spotlight/questions-and-answers-about-crispr (last visited April 17, 2017).
13. Ledford, supra note 1, at 20.
14. See generally Elizabeth Pennisi, The CRISPR Craze, 341 SCI. 833 (2013).
15. Ledford, supra note 1, at 20.
16. See Pennisi, supra note 14, at 835 (stating that virtually any gene can be altered with
18. Angela She, CRISPR in Neuroscience: How Precision Gene Editing May Unravel
How the Brain Works (and Why it Sometimes Doesn’t), HARV.: BLOG, SPECIAL EDITION ON
NEUROTECHNOLOGY (April 6, 2016), http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/crispr-in-
20. See Bruce Booth, Riding the Gene Editing Wave: Reflections on CRISPR/Cas9’s
Impressive Trajectory, FORBES (May 31, 2016),
reflections-on-crisprs-impressive-trajectory/#1abf909c141c (“Its simplicity, and its relatively
make CRISPR an ideal tool to explore myriad genetic manipulations.”).
21. CRISPR/CAS9, INTELLIA THERAPEUTICS, http://www.intelliatx.com/crispr/ (last
visited April 17, 2017).