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Semin Perinatol. 2018 Dec;42(8):531-536. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2018.09.017. Epub 2018 Oct 2.

Public health applications of CRISPR: How children's health can benefit.

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Robbins Institute for Health Policy & Leadership, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798, United States. Electronic address:
Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510, United States.


Children under the age of five years old face significant mortality risks around the world. Public health innovations, particularly gene-editing technologies such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) could help to reduce the risk of death in children under the age of five years old. For example, CRISPR-based strategies could reduce infectious disease morbidity by gene editing mosquitoes to prevent transmission of malaria. CRISPR gene editing technology could also help to screen for influenza virus and prevent it from replicating; influenza is a particularly difficult to treat and severe virus causing many deaths in children. The lack of liver, kidney, and heart donations for children on the organ donation waiting list could also benefit from CRISPR. Gene editing of pigs to reduce rejection rates and associated risks of porcine endogenous retroviruses could allow for the utilization of pig organs for transplant. Here we review proposed applications of gene-editing technology in public health and discuss its potential to reduce child mortality and morbidity globally.


CRISPR; Children; Gene editing; Infectious diseases; Influenza; Microbial diseases; Organ donation; Public health; Vector borne diseases

[Available on 2019-12-01]

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