Genome Current Affairs - 2020

CRISPR (CaS9)-The Gene Editing Tool used to treat blindness for the first time

The Gene Editing Tool called CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) has been used for the first time to treat blindness. However, doctors claimed that it will take a month to check if the vision of the patient has restored. This has been achieved at the Oregon University, Portland, USA.

What is CRISPR?

It is a family of DNA sequences that are found in prokaryotic organisms like bacteria. They are derived from DNA of Bacteriophages. Bacteriopage is a virus that infects bacteria and archaea.

Technology Used

The CRISPR-Cas is used to edit genes in an organism. It is an enzyme. Cas is CRISPR Associated protein.

How does it work?

The CRISPR based tool allows to target genomic location. After identifying the target, it adds, removes or alters that particular DNA sequence.

Pros and Cons

The Gene Editing technology can be used to modify disease causing genes. It is capable of editing genetic diseases as well. On the other hand, it marks irreversible changes in the bodies of future children. Many activists believe that it is unethical and against nature.

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GoI clears Genome India Project

The Department of Biotechnology operating under Ministry of Science and Technology has cleared Genome India Project. More than 20 leading institutions including IISc Bengaluru are to participate in the project.

Highlights

The project will at its first phase take samples of 10,000 persons to develop a reference Genome. The Centre of Brain Research operating under IISc will act as a nodal point of the project. The Project was inspired by Human Genome Project.

Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project was launched in 1990 and ended in 2003. It was an international project funded by the US Government.

The project aimed to map human genome and assemble them together to obtain a complete sequence of chromosomes. It mapped the nucleotides in the genome.

What is Genome?

Genome is the sequence of DNA. It contains all the hereditary information of an individual. Genome is not the same as gene or DNA. Genes are made of DNA. The Genome is simply sum of all DNAs of an individual.

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