The CRISPR/Cas9 system was derived from bacterial cells and allows scientists to make precise cuts in DNA. Cas9 is the enzyme that actually makes the cut, but it needs CRISPR DNA sequences as a guide to find the right location in a genome.
Researchers have used CRISPR in the lab to neuter disease-carrying mosquitoes, halt HIV replication inside cells, and engineer bacteria that can eat plastic.
There is no scientific consensus on the ethics of editing genes in human embryos for the purpose of reproduction, but now we may be seeing the world’s first “designer babies.”
According to He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, his team used CRISPR to edit the genes of human embryos that eventually became twin girls Lulu and Nana.