CRISPR, Cas-9, are words which are gradually becoming common within the scientific world. They represent an opportunity, a future, that was just a scientist’s dream… until now. CRISPR and Cas-9 is a tool which is being heavily researched due to their ability to modify and completely delete or insert genes in living organisms. This new frontier allows us to erase disease genes or even genetically engineer humans!
Gratefully, I was selected to be part of an amazing two day workshop at Shiv Nadar University in Delhi, to explore and experiment with the CRISPR and Cas-9 system. It was a fantastic experience, allowing me to fuel my curiosity about gene editing. My interest originally sparked when I was choosing a topic for my Personal Project, and the idea of Gene Editing intrigued me. As I researched for my project, I dug deeper and deeper into this world, which I previously just heard about, and eventually I decided that I want to know more, research more and experiment more. During this experience I was able to create my own solution mixed with the actual DNA of ZebraFish and the Cas-9 protein and image it using a process called gel electrophoresis and actually see how the negatively charged DNA moved towards the positively charged anode at the other end of the gel. This imaging experiment gave us an idea of how the different components fit perfectly together to perform the extraordinary CRISPR/Cas-9 process.
I had an incredible time, working with Dr.Anil Challa who has done his phD in Molecular Genetics, and multiple other students to experiment with real gene sequences and DNA and it gave me insight into how beneficial this tool can actually be. It can save millions of lives of people suffering from hereditary or incurable diseases, and it makes me happy that I am able to play a part, even if small, in the research of this remarkable technology.
By Ira – DP 1