Genetic snip and snap

Molecular biologist Jacob Corn on editing genes and tackling diseases with CRISPR technology

Dr Andi Horvath

Published 10 March 2017

Episode 389

Molecular biologist Professor Jacob Corn describes how gene editing is carried out with CRISPR-Cas9 and why this technology has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of diseases like sickle cell anaemia and malaria.

Besides human health, CRISPR-Cas9 can also contribute to improving agriculture and, consequently, food security. Jacob also discusses the potential ethical challenges posed by the widespread application of gene editing,

“Instead of taking bone marrow from someone else that’s healthy and putting it into someone with the disease, you take the patient’s own bone marrow . . . edit it so that it now no longer has the disease and then put it back in,” says Professor Corn.

“No one was looking for a gene editing tool when they found CRISPR systems and yet it turns out that this thing, discovered purely by scientific curiosity, actually is going to have a huge impact on human health.”

Episode recorded: 15 February 2017

Up Close producer: Eric van Bemmel Audio engineer: Gavin Nebauer Banner image: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)/Wikimedia Commons

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