H

ere at STAT, we spend a lot of time trying to imagine — and render — the invisible. We’ve gone inside of a developing embryo. We’ve flown inside our mouths to show the bacterial tribes that take root there. We’ve traveled through time and space to bring back to life a hallowed surgical theater. We’ve followed sound waves through our inner ears into our brains.

Of all of these fantastic journeys, one of the hardest subjects to capture, visually, has been CRISPR. Others have tried to capture the essence of the powerful gene-editing technique with the use of analogies.

Above, you can find our latest visual attempt to wrangle the genetic complexities of CRISPR into lively, and hopefully enjoyable, two minutes.

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  • I understand how this works. But we have 50-75 trillion cells with DNA. How do you choose which cells to apply the CRISPER technology to achieve a complete desired result?

  • Excellent visual synopis of CRISPR technology, but as is true throughout the history of science, knowledge and technologies outpace legal and ethical considerations. The application of these public shared methodologies in the scientific literature allow potential utilization for not just good, but nefarious, applications. Scientists and ethicists need to establish international regulatory guidelines before undereducated legislators jump in and disrupt advances that augur improved health for the born and unborn with genetic maladies.

  • Very good illustration, but I must say that it presents an overly optimistic picture of the potential for CRISPR. Coverage of the potential scientific “benefits” should also emphasize the darker side of CRISPR’s potential. Personally speaking, I am far more worried about the impact on human society of CRISPR abuses, because the scope of abuses–including those carried out in the name of “progress”–could spiral out of control very easily and very quickly.

  • Thank you! I have been reading about CRISPR and, as a layman, was struggling to understand the concept. This really helped!

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