Recent advances in CRISPR have involved experimentation on insects, animals and embryos, the latter being the area most compromised and most dependent on regulation.
Using CRISPR, the Harvard collaborators managed to edit endogenous retroviruses from pig genomes, opening the door to transplants from pig organs to humans.
The Chinese researchers proclaim the success of the first genetic editing in a human embryo for the elimination of a mutation causing a common heart condition. There are currently 20 human trials to test the efficacy of CRISPR in cancer and HIV patients in China.
CRISPR is being modified to expand its applications and versatility. It can be applied to treat diabetes, kidney disease, muscular dystrophy and dementia by activating genes and reducing awareness of their issue.
The efficiency and productivity of agriculture and livestock could be increased by applying CRISPR, generating more pest-resistant livestock and food without inserting DNA from other species.
CRISPR has been the subject of controversy, ethical debate and regulatory uncertainty. The controversy arises from the possibility of modifying inherited genes to create a custom baby and what the future implications of inheriting modified genes will be.