4th Generation Genome-Editing Technique to Advance CRISPR-Cas9

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Scientists and Clinicians have already been amazed by the new era in molecular biology heralded by genome editing techniques CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) and CRISPR-Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease). Considered as triggering a new revolution in gene editing, biomedical researchers are using this to reliably and efficiently make precise targeted changes in genome of living cells.

The prospect of a new genome-editing method that is being considered as a key advancement to CRISPR-Cas9 has been recently studied by a team of American researchers. Researchers at Harvard University along with investigators at University of California consider the new gene modification technique as ‘cleaner’ and less-error prone, as it seeks to do away with the limitations of CRISPR-Cas9. The paper detailing the research is co-authored by David Liu, a Harvard University professor, and his colleagues and is published in the journal of Sciences Advances on August, 2017.

New Gene-Modification Method to Avoid Undesirable By-products, Insertions, and Deletions

CRISPR has been a cutting-based strategy that has been at the forefront of installing desired modifications in target DNA of organisms. However, its efficacy is largely constrained by the limitation associated with making double-stranded DNA breaks that lead to undesirable insertions, deletions, and translocations. Reckoned as the fourth-generation DNA base editor, the newly discovered technique does away with the need for making ‘double-stranded DNA breaks’, thereby prevents a stochastic mixture of undesirable by-products. The method, thus, is said to vastly improve editing efficiencies, contend researchers.

Though the breakthrough isn’t going to replace CRISPR-Cas9, according to scientists these will be jointly employed to study the cause of genetic diseases and discover potentially helpful therapeutic strategies. In recent years, labs around the world have been using the base editing technique CRISPR for carrying out several exciting genetic modifications, notably making the use of animal organs feasible for human transplantation.

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