Honors College | Scholars Week Theses Presentations

Title

Risk Assessment in CRISPR Transgenic Organisms

Presenter Information

Jeffrey WarnerFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Pre-Medicine/Biology

Minor

Chemistry

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Howard Whiteman

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) gene editing technique is one that is relatively young, but has seen much controversy and ethical debate since its inception. The technique, modified from an anti-viral response in bacteria, is widely considered a revolution in molecular biology, a technology that has opened the door to human genome editing. CRISPR presents itself as the newest horizon in the creation of transgenic organisms and genetically modified organisms, pushing the field of biology into one where cells’ genomes can be written with the highest possible level of precision – each individual nucleotide selected to suit the scientist’s needs. The technique has already shown great promise conferring bacterial and viral resistance to cells, and recently has even been used to modify human germline cells for medical purposes, bringing about many ethical discussions regarding its use. Because of the unknown and daunting nature of genome editing, many have proposed bans on use of technologies like CRISPR until it is fully understood and supported by society. The need for risk assessment of transgenic organisms created by CRISPR technology has risen considerably. This study applies risk assessment strategies to the use of CRISPR in hopes of promoting safe and selective use of the technique.

Affiliations

Honors Thesis

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Risk Assessment in CRISPR Transgenic Organisms

The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) gene editing technique is one that is relatively young, but has seen much controversy and ethical debate since its inception. The technique, modified from an anti-viral response in bacteria, is widely considered a revolution in molecular biology, a technology that has opened the door to human genome editing. CRISPR presents itself as the newest horizon in the creation of transgenic organisms and genetically modified organisms, pushing the field of biology into one where cells’ genomes can be written with the highest possible level of precision – each individual nucleotide selected to suit the scientist’s needs. The technique has already shown great promise conferring bacterial and viral resistance to cells, and recently has even been used to modify human germline cells for medical purposes, bringing about many ethical discussions regarding its use. Because of the unknown and daunting nature of genome editing, many have proposed bans on use of technologies like CRISPR until it is fully understood and supported by society. The need for risk assessment of transgenic organisms created by CRISPR technology has risen considerably. This study applies risk assessment strategies to the use of CRISPR in hopes of promoting safe and selective use of the technique.