General

CRISP: The technique of the Nobel-nominated researcher Francisco Mójica


With this technique, diseases such as cancer or cystic fibrosis could be cured.

A genome editing technique, called CRISPR, according to the prestigious journal Science would be the Advance of the Year 2020. With this technique, DNA could be easily and cheaply modified and would represent a great advance and great hope for gene therapy and the treatment of diseases, such as cancer or cystic fibrosis.

The technique allows inactivate or modify genes with precision and ease never before achieved.

Although its discoverer was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2020, it was finally the Japanese Yoshinori Oshumi who was awarded for his work in the field of autophagy. The scientific community assumes that the CRISPR technique will receive the award in future editions.

What is the CRISPR technique?

The technique allows Add, silence or Activate, and replace multiple genes at the same time in the DNA of any higher organism.

This technique of genomic editing allows the genome to be rewritten and correct faulty genes, and is inspired in the immune defense who have the bacteria in front of virus.

The Spanish researcher Francisco Juan Martinez Mójica, from the University of Alicante, which identified DNA fragments from different viruses in the DNA of bacteria.

Dr. Martínez Mójica observed that the immune system of bacteria allows it to fight against the invasion of viruses by cutting them into pieces. The bacteria then incorporate these pieces of the virus genome into its own DNA, serving as a genetic tool and increasing its ability to resist future virus infections.

Photo: University of Alicante

It has been applied in the laboratory to human cells and in mice, the next step will be to use it as a tool in gene therapy in humans.

How important is this discovery?

This genome editing technology has been a revolution in the field of molecular biology, and opening a wide range of possibilities in the fields of biology and medicine.

The techniqueCRISPRis so valuable that the work of the researchers Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have received such valuable recognitions and awards as the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, in addition to being included in Time magazine in the list of the 100 most influential people the world of 2020.

But the investigation of Martinez Mójica has been key in the development of the techniqueCRISPR, and for that reason it has just received the endorsement of the co-chair of the US President's Council of Science and Technology Advisors, Barack Obama, to beNobel Prize candidate.

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Video: William G. Kaelin, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019: Official interview (November 2020).