New CRISPR tool pinpoints potentially harmful off-target edits more efficiently

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Image: iStock

With the first CRISPR gene editing therapies now in clinical trials there is an increased urgency to be able to quickly identify any unintended and potentially harmful changes that might be made to nontarget stretches of DNA. Scientists at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, and the University of Delaware, have developed a new way of identifying even infrequent alterations to regions of DNA near to the CRISPR target much more quickly than existing approaches. Described in Communications Biology, the new tool can detect the different outcomes of CRISPR gene editing in just 48 hours, compared with existing processes that can take up to two months of costly, complicated DNA analysis.

Related article:  BRCA mutations can be deadly or harmless. Now CRISPR can tell the difference

“CRISPR will probably never be perfect 100% of the time. But CRISPR tools are constantly improving. And if we can achieve a 70% or 80% rate of precision—and reveal and understand the importance of any changes that occur alongside that repair—that brings us much closer to safely using CRISPR to treat patients. We hope our new tool can help accelerate efforts to achieve that goal,” [said director of Christina Care’s Gene Editing Institute Eric Kmiec.]

Read full, original post: CRISPR’s Unwanted Edits Unmasked Using Faster Cell Free System

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