Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Synthego: On the forefront of genome engineering

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A CRISPR kit to help engineers construct better tools.

The emergence of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) facilitated modification of any singular gene, exposing it to further scientific analysis and revealing its organismal consequence. As a result, CRISPR technology not only introduced a higher standard of specificity to genome engineering, but also shifted the field’s paradigm dramatically. Today, thanks to CRISPR, scientists can make particular changes to the DNA of plants, animals, and other organisms—from gene deletions and knockdowns to insertions and single nucleotide polymorphisms—in a more efficient and accessible fashion.

A key component of the CRISPR process involves RNA reagents. Scientists design the RNA, ensuring each molecule matches a target DNA sequence. These newly formed RNA molecules then guide Cas9 to the aforementioned sequence (Cas9 being a nuclease responsible for cleaving the DNA).

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