Are you sick and tired of spending all of your time running on the treadmill and eating restrictive diets? Are you looking for a way to hack fat loss without ruining your way-of-life? Look no further than CRISPR gene-editing!
In humans, stubborn body fat can be attributed to either white or brown fat. Brown fat, specifically, is used in humans primarily for insulation, and can be tapped into when we are cold or need to ramp up our metabolism to generate heat. This fat is caused by a caloric surplus in humans, and is burned off by engaging in caloric deficit. However, in mice studies conducted by Steven Romanelli, Ormand MacDougald, and colleagues, CRISPR gene-editing offers promising results regarding the topic of brown fat loss in humans.
But what exactly is CRISPR gene-editing? CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat, gene-editing entails organizing short, palindromic DNA sequences of bacteria. These DNA sequences are surprisingly important in the immune function of these bacteria and other microorganisms, making CRISPR an incredibly promising and innovative tool in science research.
Bacteria have short sequences of variable DNA called “spacers” in between CRISPR DNA sequences. This DNA helps protect the bacterium from reinfection from viruses. If any virus were to attack the bacterium, the CRISPR DNA sequences would cut up that viral DNA matching any spacer within the genetic code of the bacterium, preventing it from reinfection.
CRISPR gene-editing works by processing invading viral DNA into short fragments that are inserted into the CRISPR DNA as spacers. Then, CRISPR replicates and spacers in the DNA of the bacterium experience transcription, in which DNA becomes RNA and CRISPR RNAs. These CRISPR RNAs help bacteria kill viruses, as they match the exact DNA as the viral DNA attacking the bacterium.
In mice experiments conducted by Romanelli, MacDougald, and colleagues, has used CRISPR gene-editing to have an enzyme named Cas9 break strands of DNA and a single piece of RNA to be packed into a harmless virus cell that will be delivered into cells in the study, which are brown fat cells in this case. This process has shown to delete several genes, namely the UCP1 gene in mice, that allows brown fat to exist and create heat. However, the mice in the study did not die when exposed to cold environments. They were able to survive despite a huge loss in brown fat.
Accordingly, using CRISPR gene-editing as a tool for brown fat loss in humans provides incredibly promising results. It is certain that, once CRISPR gene-editing becomes available for use in the reduction of brown fat in humans, I will no longer be using the treadmill as my mode of fat-burning and shift toward this method instead.