CRISPR genetic altering in the microbiome could address numerous diseases.

 

There are a lot of bacteria living inside your body. In fact, your body has more of them than cells in the entire body. 

 

Most of them are good for you. 

Particularly, the bacteria that live in your gut not only help with digestion but also contribute significantly to your physical and mental health.  

The collection of all these bacterias and other microbes and their genetic components that is present in the gut is known as the Gut microbiome.

Gut Microbiome
Gut Microbiome

 

The good bacterias present in the gut also help to keep the bad bacteria away from overpopulating in the gut. 

Healthy bacterias multiply themselves so unhealthy ones don’t have space to grow. Thus creating a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

 

When you have an imbalance in your gut because of too much of a certain type of bad bacteria in your gut microbiome, you’re more likely to develop certain diseases. 

 

E.Coli or Escherichia coli is one of the types of bacteria that live in the intestines and gut of us and some other animals.

 

Most of them are good for us.

But some strains of this bacteria can cause diarrhea if you consume fouled water or other adulterated foods.

Not only diarrhea, but also there are numerous diseases like pneumonia, acute kidney failure, adult kidney failure, seizures, bleeding, fever, and urinary tract infections.

75% to 95% of urinary tract infections are caused by E. Coli.

 

Antibiotics aren’t recommended generally because of several serious risks and complications. 

So, there were no other effective treatments to address E.coli infection and these diseases.

 

But now, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have successfully edited the genome of a bacteria in the gut of mice to kill the E.coli strains. 

They used the CRISPR gene-editing method where bacteria hunting viruses called Bacteriophages are steered to fudge the ratio between several bacterial species in the gut.

 

Bacteriophages are viruses that can infect and vitiate bacterias without impacting negatively on the human body or cells. In a test with mice, scientists used a bacteriophage called M13 which was given orally to kill E.Coli bacteria strains found in the gut of mice. 

 

Even though probiotics are a way that can be used to adjust bacterial balance in the gut, these are still not that effective. 

So genetic altering in the microbiome can be a convenient solution. 

Scientists successfully edited the gut-microbiome genes of living mice
Scientists successfully edited the gut-microbiome genes of living mice

“Eventually, we may be able to eliminate genes that cause sickness in your gut bacteria or make plants more efficient by engineering their microbial partners,” said Dr. Brady Cress, co-author of the UC Berkeley study. 

 

“The dream is that you could just choose which specific strains in your gut or even just individual genes you want to promote or take out,” said Peter J Turnbaugh, study author and researcher at California University. “We’re really excited about how far we were able to push this in E. coli. Hopefully, it will lead to similar tools for other members of the gut microbiota.

 

Interestingly, CRISPR was only able to target one cell type at a time before the research. But now, a miscellaneous population of bacterias can be targeted. 

This is community editing.

 

“Breaking and changing DNA within isolated microorganisms has been essential to understanding what that DNA does,” said Dr. Benjamin Rubin, University of California, Berkeley.

“This work helps bring that fundamental approach to microbial communities, which are much more representative of how these microbes live and function in nature,” he added.

 

Development in the field of the gut microbiome could address a variety of diseases and this achievement is definitely great news and gives optimism about the future.

 

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