Genetic Modification has long fascinated scientists as a potential solution for tacking dangerous disease. It follows the approach that, if we could change the fundamentals of our body makeup, then we could very easily change how our body reacts to different diseases.
Towards this end, scientists have tried and testing many experiments on genetic editing. This process involves taking DNA (the building block of life) and cutting it up to replace the unhealthy sections with healthy sections.
This is done through the use of CRISPR, a gene editing tool which works expressly with DNA. It goes without saying that the process is highly dangerous, as any wrong move could result in catastrophic damage to the whole genetic makeup of the person.
But now scientists have found a way to tweak the RNA instead of the DNA for similar results, but with less danger to the person.
What makes RNA editing safer than DNA editing is the fact that, while DNA carries the genetic code for our bodies, RNA is actually responsible for carrying out the execution of that code.
So if we were able to edit the RNA, we could tweak the execution process itself, then we would be able to change how our body works, without having to mess with the basic code.
What makes it even more safer is the fact that, all changes to the DNA are permanent. But the RNA can be tweaked again and again, thus giving precious second changes to repair any accidental damage done during the process.
This new procedure, called the C2c2, is already being tested in the laboratory with promising results. If the assumptions made by the researchers are true, then this technology could one day be used to block viruses and stop diseases quite easily.
While it’s understandable that commercial applications for this technology are still a long ways ahead, but the fact that there is now an even more safer way to genetically engineer our bodies to fight diseases is a great thing to look forwards to.