CRISPR, or Clustered-Correctly, Interspaced Short, Palindromic Repeats is a unique system tasked with the reorganization of DNA sequences, which possesses the ability, in the event of virus attack, to destroy the harmful element of the virus genome and thereby preventing its spread.
Employing this process, scientists have developed CRISPR technology and processess that will likely allow them the ability to modify the DNA of people, animals and plants alike, thus bringing humankind that one step closer to the eventual capacity to edit genes more fully.
Japanese researcher, Nureki Osamu, together with his colleagues from the Universities of Tokyo and Kanazawa, have, for the first time filmed unique video footage, demonstrating an event in which their CRISPR-Cas9 system can be seen to gnaw-away at a segment of affected DNA in real time.
Owing to the use of a high-speed microscope, equipped with a micromechanical cantilevered probe, it was possible to record unique frames. The probe’s pointed end constantly approaches the surface of the subject matter being examined, before retracting once more. Changes in cantilever deflections gauged during the operation are plotted by a laser, which, in turn, registers its data back to a computer, which then processes this received data in order to create the resulting image.
CRISPR-technology was first applied to the removal of the HIV genome in mice, as well as to change the genome of dogs, allowing this particular chosen breed to grow with an increase in muscle mass. As a result of the editing of genes in this new manner, other beneift like the accelerattion of crop growth, may have neared real fruition.
The film, shot by Japanese scientists, will help to better understand these complicated processes and make ay identified improvements to them.