One of the biggest recent advances in genetic engineering is the increased use of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPRs. Genetic engineers have been able to use CRISPRs for both gene regulation and editing.
CRISPRs are an important part of bacterial immune systems and have become one of the most useful tools for genetic engineers in the last couple of years. CRISPRs have helped scientists combine guide RNA sequences with other sequences of DNA in a different genome. This has allowed genetic engineers to remove, add or modify certain portions of DNA sequences.
Genetic engineers are also optimistic that CRISPRs can be used as a narrow-spectrum antibiotic. This means CRISPRs can potentially be used to target harmful bacteria and pathogens specifically. This is a major scientific advancement, as many scientists in the genetic engineering field believe that people are becoming much more resistant to antibiotics.
CRISPRs can be modified by making the nuclease of the Cas9 protein inactive. This modification turns CRISPR into CRISPRi, which is useful to geneticists because it can be used to block gene transcription. CRISPRi is far more effective than other similar methods and can be used to isolate specific genetic sequences that may be harmful.