New CRISPR tool promises ability to reduce unintended consequences to almost zero, treat expanded range of diseases

| | October 22, 2019
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A new form of the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 appears to significantly expand the range of diseases that could be treated with the technology, by enabling scientists to precisely change any of DNA’s four “letters” into any other and insert or delete any stretch of DNA — all more efficiently and precisely than previous versions of CRISPR. Crucially, scientists reported on [October 21], it accomplishes all that without making genome-scrambling cuts in the double helix, as classic CRISPR and many of its offshoots do.

Prime editing’s inventors, led by David Liu of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Andrew Anzalone, say it has the potential to correct 89% of known disease-causing genetic variations in DNA, from the single-letter misspelling that causes sickle cell to the superfluous four letters that cause Tay-Sachs disease. All told, they report making 175 edits in human and mouse cells.

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For all their versatility, it’s far from a given that prime editors will take over the CRISPR landscape. For both basic research and therapeutic uses, classic CRISPR (where the intellectual property ownership is spread around broadly) might work just fine.

Read full, original post: New CRISPR tool has the potential to correct almost all disease-causing DNA glitches, scientists report

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