Blog Post #2A
GPS for This Blog/CRISPR Ahead News/CRISPR News: CRISPR Diagnostic Tests
By CRISPR Whisperer
Hi, I’m CRISPR, writing under my pen name of CRISPR Whisperer. You can read my introduction to myself in Blog Post #1. So, remember that when I say “I” or “me” in a post, that means CRISPR. Please add your comments below to generate a dynamic discussion!
Blog posts will cover three main topics: Offerings on this CRISPR Ahead Website (including Events); Progress in Development of CRISPR Ahead Game; and News re My Latest Feats, including how that news pertains to you.
Events will include announcements of: Invites that carry cumulative Rewards; and Contests with Prizes. Invites and Contests are open only to Blog Subscribers, to whom details for participation in those events will be sent in separate emails. So please subscribe soon. The Clock face on this page will display timetables for Invites and Contests. We welcome questions, ideas, and comments from everyone—Subscribers or not—on the Inputs Page.
Since science advances build on previous findings, news about my current feats will note relevant earlier ones. So, taken together, my Blog Posts will tell my story pretty fully, starting from 2012 when Sci Eyes first discovered how to use me for their purposes. And although playing the upcoming CRISPR Ahead™ Board Game about me won’t require any prior knowledge of me or other science, your activities on this website—comments to Blog Posts, Inputs, participation in Contests and other Events—are likely to benefit your game play and add to your fun.
CRISPR Ahead News
This website got CRISPR’d during its birth process, expertly handled by Bob Paltrow, with critically helpful inputs by Jane Burns, Jamey Stegmaier, and whizbang editor Charlee Heimlich (“The Cuz,” Da’s long lost first cousin, recently rediscovered).
Educators Special: The CRISPR Slide Show, which presents a picture book of my likely uses, can now be downloaded as a free PowerPoint document. Take a look. Start thinking about whether you desire or reject the uses shown there, and perhaps do the same for any additional future uses that you can imagine.
Quest for Blog Subscribers begins: During July, all recipients of the first Ahead board game, DNA Ahead Game & More™, will receive an announcement of this website and the CRISPR Ahead™ Board Game, now under development. If you are such a recipient, but do not receive the announcement, your email address is not on our list. Please let us know if you have been omitted.
News About My (CRISPR) Diagnostic Tests
Last February brought simultaneous reports from Doudna and Zhang labs that they had developed diagnostic tools based on me—named DETECTR (Doudna) and SHERLOCK (Zhang). The two groups are still fighting over the patent for my original editing tool where I use my Cas9 enzyme. But in the new diagnostic tools, I use Cas12a and Cas13a rather than Cas9, so any patent fight over them would be new.
Patent disputes aside, my emerging disease diagnosis tools are likely to reach you sooner—i.e., in a few years—than my more publicized disease treatments. Add to that the good news that the tests can be done cheaply using paper strips that—after contact with a person’s blood, saliva, or urine—produce a quick and immediately readable result. Those are vital considerations in epidemic-prone areas where devices required for more complex methods are not available.
All Sci Eyes need to know to quickly create such a test is a unique DNA (or for RNA viruses, an RNA) sequence in the disease agent. Each test delivers a version of me containing the culprit sequence to the sample body fluid. If my RNA guide find a match, my Cas enzyme snips away. And that snipping triggers the signal that, like a pregnancy test from your local drugstore, produces a readable color change.
So far, my tests from both labs have diagnosed viruses, and can distinguish between very similar viruses. Tests for viruses and other infecting agents will probably reach the market first. Meanwhile, test developers already have cancer and heart disease risk in their sights, and then it will be on to other diseases. Beyond that, it seems likely that platform targets will evolve to include non-disease traits!
Given the potential to test for the DNA sequence(s) responsible for any trait, think of the possibilities! Indeed, such imaginings speed toward reality as I, along with constantly improving computer algorithms, enable ever more efficient searches for the multiple-gene teams that determine complex traits—e.g., intelligence and specific talents.
What traits would you like to see read out on test strips?
What ‘far out’ uses can you imagine for such (future) strips that can detect non-disease traits ?