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What is CRISPR-Cas9 and what is its role in genetic modification?

What is CRISPR-Cas9?

CRISPR-Cas9 is a revolutionary genetic technology that allows targeted modification of DNA sequences. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a natural defence mechanism developed by bacteria to fight viruses. Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) is an enzyme that can cut and modify DNA.

How does CRISPR-Cas9 work?

The CRISPR-Cas9 system works by binding the Cas9 enzyme to the target DNA under the guidance of CRISPR. Cas9 then cuts the DNA at the location specified by CRISPR. After the DNA is cut, the cell's own repair mechanisms kick in and restore the modified DNA. This allows the desired genetic changes to be introduced.

What is the role of genetic modification?

CRISPR-Cas9 technology has revolutionised genetic modification. Previously, genetic modification was a lengthy and costly process that was only available to specialists. CRISPR-Cas9 enables fast and efficient targeted genetic modification, which can be useful in many areas.

For example, genetically modifying plants can make them more resistant to pests and environmental stress. Genetic modification of animals can help prevent and cure diseases. In addition, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has potential for genetic research and for discovering the causes of disease.

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