The ground-breaking scientific break through of gene editing is finally here with the technique called CRISPR. CRISPR, or gene cutting, is the method of cutting a strand of DNA and letting the DNA repairer function repair the cut by itself. But it is at this instant where scientists introduce some changes to the genes, which the DNA will reproduce; DNA naturally grows back the mutated Genes. This CRISPR sounds great in the world of science, where certain genes can be modified onto a person. Though there are different opinions on gene-modifying, CRISPR has yet to be fully perfected. One of these hurdles is P53; a tumor suppressing protein. P53 is known as the “guardian of the genome” as this protein determines “whether the DNA will be repaired or the damaged cell will self-destruct” (MEDICINEPLUS). While this is good news, it is observed that “a dataset of >800 human cancer cell lines identified additional factors influencing the enrichment of p53-mutated cells.”(aacrjournals). So a lot of cancer cells have had a mutated P53 protein. So why does this happen? Why is the guardian of the genome being mutated?
P53 mutations are “missense mutations,” meaning they mutate in relation to a gene being edited, which creates different amino acids. By creating a whole new set of amino acids, the cell completely changes and in this case, mutates the P53. By mutating the P53 protein, P53 can no longer stop the cell division cycle, immensely increasing the chance of cancer cells. Although I make CRISPR sound like a dangerous operation to do(*I am not a scientist*), Researchers at Karolinska Institutet say to” have found new links between CRISPR, p53 and other cancer genes that could prevent the accumulation of mutated cells without compromising the gene scissors’ effectiveness.”
Another new research point mentions that although a lot of P53 mutations occur when subject to CRISPR, “cells with mutations are there from the start.” This is still a huge unknown to scientists, as CRISPR does cause P53 to mutate, there are already mutated P53 cells beforehand. Though this does prove that P53 is affected by other factors instead of only affected by CRISPR. Scientists still have much to uncover about gene-editing and in the future, they could possibly change somebody’s genes for a good cause.