To begin this discussion let me first explain what CRISPR stands for and how it works. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. CRISPR is a type of DNA sequences found with bacteria and archaea and plays a key role in the antiviral defense systems of the organism it is in. The reason it protects the organism from viruses is because the CRISPR DNA is made up of similar DNA to that of viruses that have infected the organism. The CRISPR DNA recognizes when a virus with similar DNA is near and Destroys it. Essential this is a way to edit genes within an organism. One trait of CRISPR that makes it extremely effective is that it has blank segments of DNA that are used to copy the DNA of new viruses that the organism may come across in the future.
Currently there are three commonly used alternatives to gene editing beside CRISPR/Cas9. They include Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFN), Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN), and Engineered meganucleases derived from mobile genetic elements of microbial origin. The main reason why these types of gene editing are as popular today is because these types of gene editing are very slow and not as effective when compared to the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system. In the agricultural business CRISPR can be used to increase the yield of important crops by essentially copy the same DNA. This could have extremely positive outcomes if properly executed.