Gene Editing — Now Faster, Cheaper and More Precise
A new technique inspired by the immune systems of microorganisms could be a boon for gene therapy.
By Adam Hadhazy
If defective genes make someone sick, why not just edit out the malfunctioning versions and add in ones that work? That’s the idea behind gene therapy — but it hasn’t lived up to its promise.
For one thing, controlling where a gene is added into the genome is difficult, and randomly inserted genes can disrupt others, fouling up their functions or causing cancers. Also, current gene-editing methods don’t completely shut down bad genes.
A technique based on the immune systems of bacteria and archaea, another kind of microorganism, may soon provide solutions.
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