CRISPR, The Gene Editing Tool (Where Would It Lead Us?)

Our world is now facing the challenges of rare diseases that are caused by faulty genes. Allen J Frances, MD, wrote, “Different genotypes (patterns of genes) produce different phenotypes. A few medical illnesses are phenotypes that are the downstream result of an aberrant allele of a single gene that produces a malfunctioning protein. For example, Huntington’s disease is caused by an abnormal protein called huntingtin produced by a single defective gene. If you have the gene, you will get the illness.”

Even major psychiatric disorders have a genetic component. “Anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, and major depressive disorder are about 20-45% inherited, alcohol dependence and anorexia nervosa are 50-60% inherited, whereas bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and ADHD are upwards of 75% inherited,” wrote Emily Deans, MD.

Studying genetics is not just for physical diseases and disabilities. Rebecca A. Housel, PhD, said that “genetics are increasingly important in the study of mental health.”

Revolutionary technology has been very busy in finding the cure to these genetic disorders and scientists are leaving no stone unturned.


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