Genome Editing: Here’s What You Need to Know

Genome Editing: Here’s What You Need to Know


Aug 23, 2022

Blog Life Sciences , Biotechnology Genome Editing: Here’s What You Need to Know

The genome-editing market offers a wealth of opportunity for the life science and healthcare industries. With the incidence of genetic disorders on the up, and growing applications in drug discovery and development, the market is being pushed into rapid growth. BCC Research’s latest report predicts the market will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.7% from 2022-2027. Given this hefty increase, we can expect to see significant advancements in disease treatments, helping drive the market further.

What is genome editing?

Genome editing, or gene editing, is the process of altering the genetic material of living cells. Scientists are then able to identify, delete and clone specific genes to make them perform new functions. Genetic or acquired diseases can be prevented or treated as a result.

Conventional methods of this process have been around for decades. But recent breakthroughs in biotechnology have paved the way for an innovative new method that is simultaneously faster, simpler, cheaper, and more precise. CRISPR-Cas9 has rapidly become the most widely used technology in genome editing, and is considered a game-changer in the field.

History of Genome Editing

Although CRISPR technology only came to fruition in 2012, the history of gene editing stretches back to the 1950s. With the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953, our understanding of genetic code and protein synthesis radically shifted. This early discovery paved the way for significant other developments, including the 1973 use of modified E. Coli to create insulin for diabetics, and held the promise of gene therapy.

The 1974 creation of the first transgenic mouse represents another milestone. Although ground-breaking, scientists were still operating under a limited and rather random approach to cell manipulation. Two decades later Dana Carrol at the University of Utah first used zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) in 1996, enabling scientists to confidently edit a chromosome. This process was certainly more targeted, but still cumbersome and time-consuming.

Between ZFNs and CRISPR, came TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases). These were a vast improvement on ZFNs, but physically they were still large proteins that proved tricky to work with. It was not until the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9 in 2013 that genome editing truly took off. Today, the technology has been adopted by thousands of academic laboratories across the world, which in turn is driving and will continue to drive tremendous growth in the field. Further advancements in disease treatments fuels greater investment, creating a beneficial system of advancements in both science and industry.

A Market Overview

The transformative nature of CRISPR has created a robust market landscape. Several companies have been founded off the back of this technology in the past three years alone, and further advancements will drive this trend further. But to gain a full market picture, other influencing factors should be considered:

Key Market Drivers:

  • The need for precision medicine is another factor propelling considerable growth in the genome editing market. The process involves tailoring drug treatments to the specific individual based on their unique genetic makeup. Such advancement allows for effective and precise disease treatment, resulting in a growing focus on this area.
  • High prevalence in genetic disorders. 6% of babies annually are born with congenital genetic disabilities. The high prevalence of genetic disorders has severe and life-long effects on individuals, families, and society. A lack of treatment options for these illnesses are encouraging additional research into preventative technologies like genome editing, fuelling the industry further.

Key Market Restraints:

  • Stringent regulatory framework. Genome-editing technologies have enormous potential in clinical settings. Yet strict regulatory requirements make the approval process time-consuming, limiting the rapid growth of the market.
  • Ethical issues – despite the potential to prevent devastating and life-threatening diseases, there has been wide public debate surrounding the ethics of gene editing. With technology still relatively new, there is little research into long-term implications. Some argue that the complex nature of biological systems renders the full consequences of gene editing unknowable, and as a result, advocate for a hard ban on the editing of human cells. The possibility of gene editing for desirable physical and intellectual traits has also raised concerns, which could stifle the market in the future.

In a Nutshell…

Although ethical debates are yet to be fully hashed out, the market can still expect significant expansion in the coming years. The industry holds the promise of transforming the lives of millions each year – a worthwhile investment on this premise alone.

With the market poised for tremendous growth, there is an urgent need for the latest and most complete information of the landscape.

BCC Research’s full report into the Genome Editing market provides a detailed market breakdown and analyses of both market trends and technological processes within the field. To download your free report overview or to buy the report in full, click here.

Alternatively, becoming a member of the BCC Research library allows you access to a suite of reports in your chosen category. Get in touch with a helpful member of the team today to discuss the benefits further!

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    Olivia Lowden

    Written By Olivia Lowden

    Olivia Lowden is a Junior Copywriter at BCC Research, writing content on everything from sustainability to fintech. Before beginning at BCC Research, she received a First-Class Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

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