Scientists already looking for better alternatives to CRISPR

CRISPR coplex

The CRISPR–Cas9 tool enables scientists to alter genomes practically at will…But for all the devotion, CRISPR–Cas9 has its limitations. It is excellent at going to a particular location on the genome and cutting there, says bioengineer Prashant Mali…“But sometimes your application of interest demands a bit more.”

The zeal with which researchers jumped on a possible new gene-editing system called NgAgo earlier this year reveals an undercurrent of frustration with CRISPR–Cas9 — and a drive to find alternatives. “It’s a reminder of how fragile every new technology is,” says George Church…

Cas9 will not cut everywhere it’s directed to — a certain DNA sequence must be nearby for that to happen. This demand is easily met in many genomes, but can be a painful limitation for some experiments…


Many labs use CRISPR–Cas9 only to delete sections in a gene, thereby abolishing its function. “People want to declare victory like that’s editing,” says Church. “But burning a page of the book is not editing the book.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Beyond CRISPR: A guide to the many other ways to edit a genome

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