Friday, January 3, 2014

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.

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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