Gene-Editing Moves from Single to Multiple Gene Manipulation with CRISPR Breakthrough

Scientists working out of UCLA have developed a method to edit multiple genes at once, instead of one gene at a time, as they were previously limited to doing.  The breakthrough came through an experiment using yeast.

Scientists Make CRISPR Breakthrough to Speed Up Genomic Editing

Scientists have taken another giant leap towards using the gene-editing system, CRISPR. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. In genome engineering fields it refers to various systems that allow scientists to edit DNA at precise locations.

The systems can also be used as a diagnostic tool. CRISPR made headlines when it was first published in about 2002 and was hailed as the answer to curing all diseases.

However, as research has progressed, CRISPR and its uses are much more complicated than simply deleting the genes that cause disease. One of this hurdle is the fact that editing cut-up genes takes a really long time.

Scientists at UCLA have now come up with a way to edit multiple genes at once. Currently, the tracking of the impact of changes made to genes using CRISPR is done individually.

Each edit is analyzed one at a time, a process that can take weeks. The latest development by the scientist now means that they can monitor the outcome of tens of thousands of gene edits at the same time as it currently takes to analyze just a few.

…..The new method developed by UCLA allows for the physical connection of thousands of guides to their partner patches, ensuring a perfectly matched set is delivered to each cell. To test the new method, the team studied a class of genetic mutations suspected to be harmful to cells.

The experiment was performed on yeast because cellular changes in response to gene alterations happen quickly in yeast and are easy to observe. Millions of yeast cells were grown inside a flask of fluid, the researchers then used CRISPR to deliver a customized set of paired guides and patches to each cell

 

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