I thought I’d take a slightly different approach to talk about the latest news on CRISPR patents.
CRISPR is basically the immune defense system of prokaryotic cells (the kinds without a nucleus or organelles). It seeks out viral DNA and chops it up. It’s similar to restriction enzymes, which also chop up viral DNA before it can infect bacterial cells.
Why is this relevant to cannabis? Well, restriction enzymes, and now CRISPR, are being used for genetic engineering. They cut DNA in specific regions and allow the insertion of desirable genes. What makes CRISPR particularly potent is that you can tell the CRISPR proteins exactly where on the DNA they should cut. Restriction enzymes have a nasty habit of chopping DNA into multiple pieces, which can be problematic for adding new genes.
The news portion of this comes in in the fact that a recent lawsuit has allowed for a patent of CRISPR to remain with the original filers. CRISPR is a revolutionary genomic editing tool, and the patent for it is now held by the Broad Institute.
What does this mean for the future of genetic engineering? It’s hard to say. It may make it more costly or harder to procure CRISPR. But it is important to note that a game-changer part of genetic engineering has been patented, and genetic engineering is relevant to all organisms, including cannabis.