CRISPR is a gene editing technique that has fairly recently come into it’s own. It’s a technique that comes from nature, allows scientists to edited DNA, and has become incredibly inexpensive (think $75 per edit).
After having read a number things about CRISPR (and ZFN and TALENS – two competing techniques) I understood the results it could achieve, but I didn’t really (really) get the HOW. Luckily for me, I know a lot of scientists working in biotech and I was able to set up a video chat with one of them and ask questions to my heart’s desire until “I got it”.
For those of you who don’t have a Rolodex full of biotech wizards on speed dial, let me point you to a recent episode of Radiolab where they really dig in, they talk to scientists and get crackerjack science journalist Carl Zimmer to both explain the technique and discuss the implications in a way that your average English major can understand (even English major dropouts). The discussion centers around biotech applications for human health, but anyone interested in biotech and crop breeding should have a basic understanding of this stuff. Really, in 2015, everyone should have a basic understanding of this stuff. It’s not science fiction, this is the world we are already living in.
Once, you’ve wet your whistle, Nature has a special issue dedicated to CRISPR and it’s implications.