New research could fine-tune the gene scissors CRISPR

phys.org | 11/30/2018 | Staff
leeann77 (Posted by) Level 3
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The introduction of the gene editing tool CRISPR in 2007 was a revolution in medical science and cell biology. But even though the potential is great, the launch of CRISPR has been followed by debate about ethical issues and the technology's degree of accuracy and side effects.

However, in a new study published in Cell, researchers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research have described how Cas12a, one of the CRISPR technologies, works at the molecular level. This makes it possible to fine-tune the gene-editing process to achieve specific desired effects.

CRISPR - Car - Engine - Map - Engine

"If we compare CRISPR to a car engine, what we have done is make a complete 3-D map of the engine and thus gained an understanding of how it works. This knowledge will enable us to fine-tune the CRISPR engine and make it work in various ways—as a Formula 1 racer as well as an off-road truck," says Professor Guillermo Montoya from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research.

The researchers have used a so-called cryo-electron microscope to map the technology. The recently inaugurated cryoEM facility at the University of Copenhagen has established the state-of-the-art technology enabling the researchers to take photographs of the shapes of the molecule as CRISPR-Cas12a cuts up a DNA strand. They...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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