Written By – Farahiyah Sharfina Saputri MSCIA UB
Image 1. Illustration of CRISPR Genome Editing (Dajose, L., 2019)
The discovery of the gene-editing tool CRISPR in 2012 by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna bough great changes to the field of medicine. Many medical issues, be it genetically caused or otherwise, can potentially be taken care of with this state-of-the-art gene-editing tool. The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is one of many genome-editing tools which is very often used to treat diseases and works by manipulating targeted DNA sequences to become desired DNA sequences. The fact that CRISPR is becoming common in the field of medicine is due to the high accuracy the tool provides when compared to other gene-editing tools. Furthermore, it is easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, the use of this technology is not yet accepted by the general mass. There are many concerns especially from a bioethical, social and legal aspects. However there have been many researches that has proven the many positive influence of CRISPR in treating infectious and genetic disease, one of which is the Sickle Cell Disease. One study proved that CRISPR–Cas 9 can improve HbF percentage which in turn solve sickle cell disease within patients. Studies relating to the use of CRISPR-Cas9 on patients with sickle cell disease have also reached clinical level.
Gambar 2. Opprortunities and Challenges of CRISPR Genome Editing Tools (USGAO, 2020)
Many people consider such a technology may disrupt many aspects of life. The mere thought of the technology’s use are feared by people; That manipulated gene will spread to other species and therefore affect life on earth negatively. There is also a belief that the technology is too expensive and may only be accessed by the elites, which may create a larger gap between the rich and the poor. Other ethical dilemmas regarding the use of CRIPSR rise from the legal aspects. Even though the use of genome-editing tools is allowed in medicine, the extensive use of CRISPR in many medicinal studies give rise to suspicions and therefore cause legal concerns. This is not without cause, as the difficulty in monitoring the use of genome-editing tools is the primary reason as to why many are against the use. Examples of such worries are the possible use of CRISPR for eugenics on humans and the concern that genetically-modified babies will become widespread through this process.
Therefore, further discussions and studies are required to face possible bioethical issues of genome-editing, including restrictions and uses for such technologies. In addition, collaboration from many parties regarding the monitoring and legislating of genome-editing is required to fully utilise the potential of genome editing without drawbacks and repercussions.
- Anzalone, A. V., Koblan, L. W., & Liu, D. R. (2020). Genome editing with CRISPR–Cas nucleases, base editors, transposases and prime editors. Nature Biotechnology, 38(7), 824–844.
- Brokowski C, Adli M. CRISPR Ethics: Moral Considerations for Applications of a Powerful Tool. J Mol Biol. 2019 Jan 4;431(1):88-101.
- Ayanoğlu FB, Elçin AE, Elçin YM. 2020. Bioethical issues in genome editing by CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Turk J Biol,44(2):110-120.
- CDC. 2017. What are the Ethical Concerns of Genome Editing?. NHGRI. https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/policy-issues/Genome-Editing/ethical-concerns (diakses pada 27 September 2022)