CRISPR Cas9 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Science & Tech)

News-CRUX-10     23rd August 2023        
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Context: Indian scientists have developed the first-ever low-pungent mustard that is pest and disease-resistant. It is based on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing while being non-GM and transgene-free.

Oilseeds yield not only oil for cooking and frying. Their so-called meal – the residual cake after extraction of oil from the seeds – is a protein-rich ingredient used in livestock, poultry and aqua feed.

India is the 4th largest oilseeds producer in the world. It has 20.8% of the total area under cultivation globally, accounting for 10% of global production.

CRISPR Cas9 Technology

CRISPR is an acronym representing Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

  • It is an innovative technology that provides geneticists and medical researchers with the capability to alter precise segments of the genome.
  • CRISPRs are unique segments of DNA with specialized functions.
  • The protein Cas9, also known as "CRISPR-associated," functions as an enzyme resembling molecular scissors, proficient in cleaving DNA strands.
  • This capability enables researchers to conveniently modify DNA sequences and manipulate gene behaviour.

Genetically Modified (GM) Crops 

  • GM crops encompass the introduction of external genes into an organism's genetic makeup, resulting in transgenic plants. 

These genes can originate from species unrelated to the host organism.

Genome-edited (GE) Crops

  • GE crops involve the alteration of preexisting genes within an organism's genome, usually without the incorporation of foreign genes.

 These modifications emulate naturally occurring mutations.

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