A.Attention Getter: What if told you, you could all become super humans. How would this be possible? A spider bite maybe? Nope. Through the potential of CRISPR-CAS9.

B.Relevance: CRISPR-CAS9 is a revolutionary biotechnology that has multiple implications for humanity.

C.Thesis: Because this new biotechnology could affect our lives drastically, it is important to at least have an understanding of it and what it could do.

D.Credibility: I am credible to talk about this because I am well researched on the topic and I have exposure on this from my major as well as having a genuine interest and passion for the medical field.


A.CRISPR-CAS9 is a protein that acts as a pair of very precise scissors that are cable of cutting specific strands of DNA, which is the blueprints our body uses to carry out functions.

1.As stated by Eric Lander in his research article “The Heroes of CRISPR” in 2016, that CRISPR- CAS9 was first officially identified in 2002 in E. Coli bacteria as being a protein that is used to help defend against viruses that inject their DNA and take over the bacteria.

2.This protein useful to humans because it is programmable and allows scientists to cut out specific parts of DNA and replace it with new custom DNA. So when given a copy of the DNA that scientists want to modify CRISPR will on its own find that section of DNA and cut it off.

3.What is so exciting about this gene editing tool is that it cuts down costs and time. As stated by Heidi Ledford, from nature.com, the cost of gene editing through the use of CRISPR has gone down 99% and instead of a year, it takes just a few weeks to conduct experiments. Basically, allowing anyone with a lab to use it.

B.CRISPR is the ultimate tool for gene editing and has multiple real-world applications that can change humanity forever. I will go in depth on 3 world changing applications for humans.

1.CRISPR has the ability to end all diseases.

i.CRISPR has the ability to cure all diseases by making humans immune to bacterial and viral infections. By strengthening a person’s immune system.

ii.CRISPR may also be useful in eliminating cancer by editing a person’s immune system so that they are better able to detect and destroy cancer cells.

iii.Genetic diseases that are caused by mutations and mistakes made in your DNA could also be solved using CRISPR

I.By engineering CRISPR proteins that can repair and replace mistakes made in DNA. Which could cure thousands of diseases forever.

iv.This could eventually be used to stop or slow down aging by creating new genes within ourselves or borrowing genes from existing animals that don’t age like certain worms, jellyfish, and lobsters

v.In a study conducted by seven scientists in 2016, used rats that were infected with the HIV virus. The rats had almost all of their cell infected with HIV. They were then injected with CRISPR in the rats tails and the scientists were able to remove more than 50% of the virus from cell all over the body

I.So in a few decades CRISPR might be able to cure HIV and eradicate other diseases that are caused by viruses like Herpes and other virus related diseases.

vi.So those applications only affect a single individual and the changes made die with the person and don’t affect their offspring.

2.CRISPR can also be used to create modified humans by using them on reproductive cells or very early embryos. This is called creating designer babies. Which can cause gradual but irreversible changes to the human gene pool.

i.Babies can be made to eliminate a deadly genetic diseases running in a family.

ii.Later this could be used to improve vanity traits like maybe improved sight, metabolism, muscular, taller, faster, fuller hair, etc.

iii.As reported in sciencemag.org last year in China a scientist announced that he had created the first ever-gene edited babies without any supervision or oversight

I.He did so to give HIV resistance to two twin baby girls whose father infected with HIV.

II.This is scary because “off-target” changes elsewhere in the girls’ genomes. Those changes could cause cancer or other problems.

III.It was also irresponsible and unnecessary because HIV for the girls is not very life threatening and that there are a lot of successful treatments today that combat HIV and provide a normal quality of life.

iv.Any modification to a person would affect the gene pool

v.This has a ton of ethical concerns like consent and what if you get something wrong that the next generation has to live with for the rest of their lives and their children’s lives. Also, there may be bad actors that could use gene editing for nefarious purposes. However, it could also be said that not eliminating diseases and stuff could be considered unethical because it condemns children to preventable suffering and death and denies them the cure.

3.A less life altering but equally cool application is using DNA for data storage.

i.As stated by scientificamerican.com zettabytes of data are created in a single year.

I.(418 billion one-terabyte hard drive’s worth of information)

ii.It is very difficult to keep up with storing that much data.

iii.An alternative to hard drives is DNA-based data storage created through CRISPR.

iv.DNA can be read for 1.5 million years which is about 7.5x longer than humans have existed on earth.

4.There are a ton of other applications for CRISPR

i.Improving IVF

ii.Protecting plants

iii.Creating Biofuel

iv.And…. Reviving extinct animals

I.A team at Harvard is working right now to bring back the wooly mammoth using CRISPR


A.Closing Statement: CRISPR is revolutionary and exciting new tool in gene editing with multiple applications but it will take a lot of time, research, and dialogue before we see any huge impacts being made. This is all still very early technology. Regardless on anyone’s opinions of genetic engineering, it will have affect us all in some way so we might as well be informed and prepared. So that research is guided by caution, reason, oversight, and transparency so that the technology can be used for the good of mankind.

bad actors like totalitarian regimes using genetic engineering to subjugate a population; super soldiers.