Amanda Hewes, MS, Education Program Manager at ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute discussed their work in bringing gene editing to students. High school and university students receive a kit, CRISPR in a Box™, that contains the CRISPR gene editing laboratory exercise along with all of the reagents and consumables to allow them to do a simple gene editing reaction. The program, as Ms. Hewes describes it, is similar to the word processing programs we use in writing – you can ‘copy’, paste, and change within the DNA material. If the bacterial plates grow blue and white colonies then they were successful. The gene editing kit, developed by the Gene Editing Institute, is designed to engage younger students in science and the gene editing field. The CRISPR project is simple enough that it can be taught to the instructors – and students – easily, completed quickly, and requires only basic lab skills. Ms. Hewes discussed the value of luring a diverse group of students into the field. They will bring their fresh ideas and cultural experiences as our future leaders and researchers.
For information about the educational programming at ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute, go to GeneEditingInstitute.com.
About ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute
The Gene Editing Institute, a worldwide leader in CRISPR gene editing technology and the only institute of its kind based within a community health care system, takes a patient-first approach in all its research to improve the lives of people with life-threatening disease. Since 2015, researchers at the Gene Editing Institute have been involved in several ground-breaking firsts in the field, including the development of the first CRISPR gene editing tool to allow DNA repairs outside the human cell which will rapidly speed therapies to patients and a unique version of CRISPR called EXACT that reduces the number of off-target edits to other areas of the genome, which is vital for further research and patient applications. Its researchers are currently developing a patient trial for lung cancer using CRISPR technology.
About CRISPR Gene Editing
CRISPR gene editing is a genetic engineering technique in molecular biology by which the genomes of living organisms may be modified. It is based on a simplified version of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 antiviral defense system. By delivering the Cas9 nuclease complexed with a synthetic guide RNA (gRNA) into a cell, the cell’s genome can be cut at a desired location, allowing existing genes to be removed and/or new ones added in vivo (in living organisms). The technique is considered highly significant in biotechnology and medicine as it allows for the genomes to be edited in vivo with extremely high precision, cheaply, and with ease. CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing techniques have many potential applications, including in medicine and agriculture.