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CRISPR can now cut and splice entire chromosomes



  • Until recently, the gene editing tool CRISPR was only able to make changes to individual genes.
  • The new tools enable scientists to cut and splice larger pieces of genetic material.
  • The results are likely to have significant implications for a variety of research areas and the opportunity for researchers to create synthetic species that can produce molecules that are not produced by natural organisms.

Since 201

2, scientists can use the gene editing tool CRISPR / Cas9 DNA with remarkable accuracy to modify precision. One limitation of this technique, however, was that changes can only be made within individual genes. Now scientists have developed new tools to cut and splice large pieces of chromosome and assemble new synthetic genomes from different strains.

The results were published in an article of August 30 in Science . are likely to have a major impact on areas such as synthetic biology, computational biology, and biological computing and could lead to better treatments for a variety of diseases.

"This new release is unbelievably exciting and a great step forward for synthetic biology," said Anne Meyer, a synthetic biologist at the University of Rochester, New York, who was not involved in the publication, Science .

Unlike previous gene editing tools, the new tools can make many precise cuts in long strands of DNA without leaving scars.

The researchers, as Robert F. Service wrote for Science also changed "another known tool, an enzyme called lambda-red recombinase," so that it subtends the ends of the original chromosome – minus the removed part – could glue together again and merge the ends of the removed part. Both circular DNA strands are protected from endonucleases. With this technique different circular chromosome pairs can be generated in other cells. Researchers can then swap chromosomes as they please, then insert the part they select into the original genome. "

" Now I can make him one changes in one segment and then in another and combine them with each other. That's a big deal, "said Chang Liu, a synthetic biologist at the University of California, Irvine, on Science .

Why CRISPR Gene Editing Invokes Its Creator Nightmares

Doors for Scientists to Researching many new areas: creating synthetic species that can produce molecules that are not produced by natural organisms, storing information in DNA and reducing the cost of medical research by simplifying the processing of bacterial genomes becomes a larger scale.

However, the use of CRISPR to process large parts of the human genome is unlikely given the regulatory hurdles and ethical complications, as scientists are not fully aware of the consequences of small changes to DNA, much less to larger slices.

"We understand that Changes that we v not always quite, "said Alan Regenberg, bioethicist at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Science News . "Even if we make the changes we want to make, the question remains as to whether they will do what we want and not what we do not want."

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