Genome Editing Methods and Novel Tools

CRISPR “spacer” sequences are transcribed into short RNA sequences (“CRISPR RNAs” or “crRNAs”) capable of guiding the system to matching sequences of DNA. When the target DNA is found, Cas9 – one of the enzymes produced by the CRISPR system – binds to the DNA and cuts it, shutting the targeted gene off. Using modified versions of Cas9, researchers can activate gene expression instead of cutting the DNA. These techniques allow researchers to study the gene’s function.

Research also suggests that CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to target and modify “typos” in the three-billion-letter sequence of the human genome in an effort to treat genetic disease.

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