A new gene-editing method has been devised by researchers that could probably rectify up to 89% of genetic faults, comprising those that result in conditions such as sickle cell anemia. Dubbed “prime editing,” the latest method was devised by scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Having its roots from potent CRISPR gene editing, prime editing is more versatile and precise—it “inscribes new genetic information directly into a particular DNA site,” as per the study.
In the customary CRISPR-Cas9 method, a form of modified protein, Cas9, functions similar to a scissors’ pair that can cut pieces of DNA strands. Particular location genes can be targeted by it, for example, to disorder a mutation. Around two-thirds of recognized human genetic variations linked to ailments are single point gene mutations, thus such mutations can be possibly reproduced or rectified with gene editing.
Prime editing blends the CRISPR-Cas9 technique with a distinct protein that can produce new DNA. The device cuts the DNA strand and then the edited sequence is shifted to the target DNA, enabling scientists to efficiently insert and remove pieces of human cells. The method enables scientists to hunt and reinstate complete pieces of DNA strands, all exclusive of donor DNA or disruptive breaks. Scientists, with this technology, state they anticipate to precisely and competently correcting up to 89% of identified disease-causing genetic changes.
Now the scientists will carry on functioning to perfect the method, attempting to maximize its effectiveness in numerous cell types and investigating any potential impacts on the cells. Also, they will carry on testing on diverse disease models to eventually “offer a potential route for human therapeutic applications,” as per the press release.
Likewise, in March, earlier this year, a research team, comprising the researcher who patented and pioneered CRISPR technology, demanded a worldwide freeze on human germline editing—alterations made to inherited DNA that has the possibility to be passed down to the subsequent generation.
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