Biology

Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kits bring genetic engineering to your kitchen bench

Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for bacteria
Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for bacteria
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Do-it-yourself CRISPR gene editing: coming soon to a home near you
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Do-it-yourself CRISPR gene editing: coming soon to a home near you
Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for yeast
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Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for yeast
Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for bacteria
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Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for bacteria

CRISPR genome editing is one of the most significant, world-changing technologies of our era, allowing scientists to make incredibly precise cut n' paste edits to the DNA of living organisms. Now, one synthetic biologist from NASA plans to make it as accessible as a home science kit, so you can bio-hack yeast and bacteria on your kitchen bench.

If you're not up to date with how CRISPR gene editing works, take a quick look at this excellent MIT video. In short, CRISPR/Cas9 is a radically fast and easy way to precisely cut and replace DNA sections in a living organism. It has revolutionised biomedical research and opens up all kinds of opportunities for gene therapy and genetic engineering.

Dr. Josiah Zayner, a research fellow in NASA's synthetic biology lab, believes that if CRISPR is the key scientific tool of the future, it's the tool amateur scientists should be experimenting with at home, today.

He's been running an online store for a while now called The ODIN, trying to facilitate and encourage do-it-yourself synthetic biology research at home, and he's currently running an Indiegogo campaign to sell full genome engineering kits so that amateur scientists fans can try CRISPR gene editing for themselves.

Zayner says the kits will contain everything a budding scientist needs to carry out CRISPR experiments on yeast or bacteria. For US$130, you can have a crack at re-engineering bacteria so that it can survive on a food it normally wouldn't be able to handle, or for $160, you can get your eukaryote on and edit the ADE2 gene of yeast to give it a red pigment.

Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for yeast
Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kit for yeast

CRISPR gene editing works on a variety of organisms, including humans. But Zayner isn't selling kits you can use to give yourself an extra kidney or cure your own baldness, saying "specific changes would need to be made to the DNA in order for it to cross any species barrier."

Zayner's hope is that through interested amateur experimentation, more people will get interested in CRISPR research, rather than having cutting edge science being "the stagnant behemoth out of everyone's reach." Either way, this looks like a pretty cool little tool to explore some way-out technologies.

Zayner describes the kit and the technology behind it in the video below.

Source: Indiegogo

DIY CRISPR Genome Engineering

11 comments
Teaser-Trailer.com
So now would-be terrorists could engineer some new deadly virus from the comfort of home? Don't get me wrong am glad to hear that we're making progress in genetics, but am a bit scared by what could happen here...
Brian M
Great idea - a bit like Clive Sinclair's spectrum or the old BBC micro that got the public into the early days of computing. As for terrorists bio-engineering stuff yes it could happen, but if they can get hold of C4, weapons etc., then its likely they will get hold of bio-weapons or the knowledge to make them.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Combine with home brewing kit!
MishmaYukio
What a crock. The pipetors alone will run someone $500 and then there is the enzymes, growth media, agar, microwave to heat the agar, plates (and on and on), tips as well as the ability to ascertain if the bacteria succumbed to off target mutations. Even in the hands of competent Molecular Biologist the method is fraught with difficulties.
stewartm0205
While a lot of good can come from this there is also the risk of something really bad happening. Playing around with things that can replicate exponential can be dangerous.
jbhelix108
What could possibly go wrong? Edit DNA of bacteria at home... Just don't cough or cross contaminate with whatever is on your kitchen counter and create a super bug that wipes out mankind OK.
Skywoolf
I can't imagine anything more incredibly stupid and irresponsible than releasing this onto the market. Maybe this guy is one of those one wants to wipe out most of the human race. This certainly looks like an effective way to do it.
VictoriasViewpoint
It's new, so let's fear it.
DavidDeViney
My god this comments section is depressing. You sound like folks that thought we were going to make "a Frankenstein" with restriction enzymes. You can get the equipment to do this rather cheaply as well unless you are wanting to buy "the latest" tech.
darkstar01
Great idea, now you just need this and a used gene gun and inert silver or gold beads to inject your genetic information and viola! mutants. LOL scary, but interesting.
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