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Have you ever felt like you were given an unfair disadvantage due to your genes? Maybe you were born with a genetic disease like cystic fibrosis, or you might have been born with something less severe like a hair color that is naturally unpleasant. If we fund and properly research more about CRISPR, we can change this. CRISPR is a powerful genome editing tool that is full of potential, should scientists continue to experiment with it. It gives researchers the ability to alter a person’s DNA and therefore change the function of a gene. Broad Institute states that CRISPR/Cas9 works in a specific pattern. First, a part of the DNA strand is targeted for the Cas9. Then, the Cas9 (an enzyme produced by the CRISPR system) binds itself to the targeted portion of the DNA. The targeted piece of DNA is then cut and can be replaced with the correct strand of DNA. This can be used by the body to correct “typos” in the DNA. Many people believe that CRISPR should not be used because it is ethically wrong to change a person in such an unnatural way. They believe that such actions are like playing god. Others feel that CRISPR may lead to a divide in society between those who have been genetically changed and those who haven’t. However, CRISPR also has the power to reduce the number of people with genetic diseases, increase the average person’s life expectancy, and can even help us in our agriculture.As stated above, CRISPR can eliminate genetic diseases in people if used correctly. Genetic diseases include Down syndrome, haemophilia, intellectual disability, obesity, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, and Alzheimer’s disease. With the proper funding and research, scientists will quickly be able to cure many genetic diseases using CRISPR. Already, HIV patients and even a leukemia patient have been treated using this technology. “Layla (a victim of leukemia) is in remission thanks to gene-editing technology” says Nature News, a group in support of CRISPR. This breakthrough should serve as motivation for scientists to delve further into their genetic research in an effort to find cures to similar diseases. According to researchers from scientist company New Atlas “CRISPR-Cas9 has been used to eliminate HIV from many mice in another step towards a possible permanent cure”. These cures have already been found and used. Who is to say that this is the end of such successes? Although many people are afraid of what CRISPR may lead to for the human race, they are overlooking the great good that CRISPR can and most probably will bring as well. In my opinion, a stronger and disease free population is nothing to be afraid of.The average human lifespan is approximately 79 years. Using CRISPR and with a proper sized budget, scientists may be able to modify a human’s DNA in such a way that it allows the human to not only live for a longer period of time, but also be physically active for a greater amount of their life. It is common knowledge that humans are typically at their fittest and strongest at age 29. What if we could extend the lifespan of a person so that they would reach their physical prime at age 40, 50, or 60? The possibilities are unknown and can only be discovered with the correct resources and researchers. Scientists from the Genetic Literacy Project have found that “by manipulating just a few genes, researchers were able to extend the lifespan of worms by 5 fold”. In worms, scientists have already found the gene or genes that can control the lifespan of worms. The next step is to do the same for human beings. More research is being done on a species known as bowhead whales. “Bowhead whales…can have lives spanning approximately 200 years and a study has identified some 80 genes that we may be able to…apply to humans” says the Genetic Literacy Project. This breakthrough may be exactly the jumpstart that we have so desperately needed in the past decade or two. Finally we have been able to identify genes in other organisms that we may be able to manipulate to our advantage. The more we experiment with CRISPR, the better and more promising our results will be. However, CRISPR can do more than just directly fix our species’ physical flaws.CRISPR can have positive agricultural effects as well. We have been editing and mutating our crops in ways that are beneficial to us for many centuries, whether we realize it or not. Humans have already found ways to make our foods greater in their nutritional content, larger in size, and better in taste. Using CRISPR, we may be able to mutate crops in even more advanced ways. We may be able to produce crops that are less harmful to the environment or maybe our crops will require less resources to be produced. The possibilities extend only as far as we want them to. The more effort we put into experimenting with CRISPR, the more we know about it and the better our species will be able to survive. The American Chemical Society says that “gene editing…(is) making plants that are higher yielding, healthier, drought tolerant, and more”. The less work and resources needed to produce our crops, the better. There will come a time when our excess consumption of goods will come back to haunt us. At that point in time, when resources are scarce, the production of goods using the least amount of energy and resources will be in the best interest of the species. Future Farming, a group of researchers and scientists working on developing better methods of farming, say that “gene editing can wipe out diseases originating from crops and can prolong the shelf life of different goods”. 1.3 billion tons of food that could have been eaten is wasted around the globe every year. That number amounts to about ? of all food that is produced for human consumption! If we can seriously reduce this number of wasted food by prolonging the shelf life of various foods, we will be saving money, time, effort, and resources.In conclusion, CRISPR may lead to a slight divide in society, but not enough to cause serious segregation or unjust treatment due to genetically modified people. The usage of CRISPR is not at all like playing god, because although we may be changing our species unnaturally, we are simply doing what we must in order for us to ensure there will be many generations to live on after us. CRISPR may lead to some failed experiments, it may lead to a large debate based on whether or not this type of technology should be used, and it may cause harm to the unfortunate test subjects (typically monkeys and mice) of the CRISPR experiments. Yet the beneficial aspects of CRISPR cannot be denied. In the past century, the average lifespan of a human has increased by 40 years. With CRISPR, that number can skyrocket. We have all experienced problems with food that has become rotten or unusable because of its shelf life. An increased shelf life will positively impact our communities in inexplicable ways. Many of us know or have heard of people who suffer from genetic disorders. If we can find a way to fix these disorders using CRISPR-Cas9, it will save the lives of thousands now and in the future. One of those many thousand may become an extremely successful person that solves another great issue of mankind. With CRISPR, the lives that can be helped are innumerable. I feel that the government should encourage companies to further understand CRISPR and how it works. The government should give them supplies and resources so we can all benefit from CRISPR as soon as possible. While experimenting is being done, it would be best if there were some restrictions put in place so as to not let CRISPR experiments get out of hand. Once we start using CRISPR in better and smarter ways, the restrictions can be removed and the technology can be put in effect immediately thereafter. CRISPR is an idea that is here to stay. We should take full advantage of the opportunity that we have been given to further improve our generation and those to come.

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