Video: Explaining CRISPR gene editing with a toy train

| | December 12, 2017

When people refer to Crispr, they’re probably talking about Crispr-Cas9, a complex of enzymes and genetic guides that together finds and edits DNA.

[I]n the lab, scientists have harnessed this powerful Crispr system to do things other than fight off the flu. The first step is designing a guide RNA that can sniff out a particular block of code in any living cell—say, a genetic defect, or an undesirable plant trait. If that gene consists of a string of the bases A, A, T, G, C, scientists make a complementary strand of RNA: U, U, A, C, G. Then they inject this short sequence of RNA, along with Cas9, into the cell they’re trying to edit.

Once in the cell’s nucleus, the Crispr-Cas9 complex bumps along the genome, attaching every time it comes across a small sequence called PAM.

The process can stop there, and simply take a gene out of commission. Or, scientists can add a bit of replacement DNA—to repair a gene instead of knocking it out.

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Crispr isn’t perfect; sometimes the protein veers off course and makes cuts at unintended sites. So scientists are actively working on ways to minimize these off-target effects. And as it gets better, the ethical questions surrounding the technology are going to get a lot thornier.

CRISPR Video 12-12-17

Read full, original post: Everything you need to know about CRISPR gene editing

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

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