CRISPR makes gene-editing possible. It provides the tools that can change DNA. Changed DNA can mean life, if it is for the healing of fatal illnesses. It can mean death, if species are modified in order to get extinct. Although CRISPR has already proven its power, there is still a broad field to be investigated and a large number of questions to be answered. What does it mean for the future? How can we decide what is ethically right? What did we not think of yet? There seem to be more questions than answers about CRISPR. There are those who say that it is very easy to use and it should be available for everyone, whilst others are concerned about the off-target-effects and the possible consequences. The line between great chances and high risks seems to be very thin. Although I understand the concerns about the technique and I am aware of the moral conflict, I also see CRISPR as part of the evolution. In the age of artificial intelligence, plans to go to Mars and research about the DNA of organisms, it might has been only a matter of time until a method was created that would offer the possibility to change it – to design it. Now, that CRISPR has been discovered, new and incomparable possibilities have been generated. Even though, the technique is still at an early stage and the knowledge about the DNA of organisms is still limited, the basic principle is defined. This can be translated into an example including two organisms. Hemp is an environmentally friendly crop. It provides resources for the fabrication of skin care products, it is edible and its fibres can be used in the textile industry – just to mention a few properties. Compared to cotton, it only needs a small amount of water and almost no pesticides to grow. By using CRISPR, the DNA of the hemp plant could be modified. For instance, colours could be changed. Flax has blue blossoms. The gene determining the hue of the flowers could be extracted and transferred into the DNA of the hemp plant. There, it should be positioned in its genome where the properties of the stem are defined. Blue fibres could be grown within the hemp stem. This could avoid an immense amount of energy and water that would otherwise be spend on the process of dying fibres and textiles. In order to make use of the potential of this technique, I think it is essential that experts of different fields cooperate. Not only concerning this topic, but many other sectors could also profit from interdisciplinary collaborations.
Hemp is an environmentally friendly crop. Compared to cotton, it only needs a small amount of water and almost no pesticides to grow. By using CRISPR, the DNA of the hemp plant could be modified.
Flax has blue blossoms. The gene determining the hue of the flowers could be extracted and transferred into the DNA of the hemp plant. There, it should be positioned in its genome where the properties of the stem are defined.
Blue fibres could be grown within the hemp stem which could be harvested and used for textiles.
The fibres could be processed into yarn in the common way and then be used in the textile industry.
This could save an immense amount of energy and water that would otherwise be spent on the process of dying fibres and textiles.
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