Ep. 95: Real Impact, with Jennifer Doudna | Conversations with Mike Milken

Key Takeaways

  • CRISPR is a way to edit DNA sequences quickly and effectively  
  • CRISPR will allow changes to the sequence of DNA that leads to disorder in utero
  • CRISPR technology offers opportunities to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • CRISPR will allow plant breeders to put in traits that are desirable (e.g., eliminate toxicity) and make changes to genes that impact those specific traits but not change the genes of the rest of the plant
  • The Innovative Genomics Institute/CRISPR research team is committed to ethically responsible development of technology and future accessibility and affordability around the world

Introduction

Jennifer Doudna (@doudna_lab) is a professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

In this episode, Mike Milken sits down with Jennifer Doudna to discuss CRISPR technology, real-life benefits, and potential for the detection of viruses such as COVID-19.

Host: Mike Milken (@MilkenInstitute)

Background of CRISPR-Cas9

  • The microbial population in our bodies has a huge effect on our health
  • Bacteria have an adaptive immune system that allows them to respond in real-time to viruses that infect bacterial cells
  • More than 90% of genes in humans are bacteria
  • “CRISPR” is an acronym that represents a bacterial immune system and the way bacteria fight viral infection
  • CRISPR-Cas9 was discovered at the University of California Berkeley in 2012
  • CRISPR is a way to edit DNA sequences quickly and effectively
  • Technology is a breakthrough in the future of health and disease
  • CRISPR presents the idea that we can edit our genes and edit out pathology and rewrite DNA sequence to allow cells to precisely reprogram genes

Practical Uses of CRISPR-Cas9 Technology

  • CRISPR has applications in humans, agriculture, food chain
  • Some types of CRISPR proteins are useful for detection of a virus and release signal to report on the presence of the virus in real-time
  • CRISPR will allow changes to the sequence of DNA that leads to disorder in utero
  • A case study with sickle cell disease was successful
  • CRISPR offers opportunities to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Agricultural Uses of CRISPR

  • Agricultural products will benefit from CRISPR
  • Everything we consume is effectively genetically modified because plant breeders have been introducing random changes to DNA and selecting desired traits
  • CRISPR will allow plant breeders to put in traits that are desirable and make changes to genes that impact those specific traits but not change the genes of the rest of the plant
  • Crops can become drought resistant with the rise of climate change
  • CRISPR can make plants more nutritious and less toxic

Future of CRISPR in Clinical Practice

  • Genome editing will be woven into biology on the research front
  • Increasing use of applications to disease
  • CRISPR could be important technology leveraged in cancer immunotherapy

Ethics of CRISPR

  • Berkeley is the center of the joint-campus institute with an eye toward social responsibility and ethics
  • The goal is to use in a transparent and appropriate fashion to advance our knowledge and health
  • There’s a concerted effort to make sure this technology is available to everyone who needs it  
  • Learn more: Innovative Genomics Institute
Conversations with Mike Milken : , , , , ,
Notes By Maryann

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 35,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks