A new way of editing the code of life could correct 89% of the errors in DNA that cause disease, say US scientists.
The technology, called prime editing, has been described as a “genetic word processor” able to accurately re-write the genetic code.
It has been used to correct damaging mutations in the lab, including those that cause sickle cell anaemia.
The team at the Broad Institute say it is “very versatile and precise”, but stress the research is only starting.
Can’t we already edit DNA?
Prime editing is the latest advance in the field of gene editing, which is developing at an incredible pace.
Our DNA is the instruction manual for building and running our bodies. It is in nearly every one of our cells.
Being able to tweak DNA through gene editing is already transforming scientific research, promising to revolutionize medicine and asking deep moral and ethical questions after the creation of babies who were gene-edited to have protection from HIV.
Much of the excitement has centred on a technology called Crispr-Cas9, which was developed just seven years ago.
It scans DNA for the right spot and then, like a microscopic pair of scissors, cuts it in two.
This creates the opportunity to edit the DNA.
However, the edits are not always perfect and the cuts can end up in the wrong place. Both issues are a problem for using the technology in medicine.
The promise of prime editing is precision.
Image Credit: Getty
Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen. Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen
News This Week
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a new face mask that they believe could stop viral particles as effectively as N95 masks. Unlike N95 masks, the new masks were designed [...]
Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned. Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of [...]
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have developed a safer and more efficient way to deliver a promising new method for treating cancer and liver disorders and for vaccination -- including a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna [...]
Despite its advantages over other vaccine technologies for Covid-19, adenovirus vector vaccines are likely to be tripped up by pre-existing antibodies to the vectors used and the need for a second injection to boost [...]
When the first coronavirus cases in Chicago appeared in January, they bore the same genetic signatures as a germ that emerged in China weeks before. But as Egon Ozer, an infectious-disease specialist at the Northwestern University [...]
Park Systems presents “NanoScientific Symposium on Nano Applications for a Changing World” sponsored by Physics World and Nanotechnology World Association. Park Systems launched this online event for researchers and scientists in nanoscience and nanotechnology [...]
Notwithstanding the wishful thinking of certain irresponsible and incompetent public figures, the only options to control and deal with the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are fast, cheap, reliable, [...]
From the Annals of Neurology: In less than 6 months, the severe acute respiratory syndrome‐coronavirus type 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) has spread worldwide infecting nearly 6 million people and killing over 350,000. Initially thought to be restricted [...]
A cheap steroid has become the first life-saving treatment in the Covid-19 pandemic, described by scientists as a major breakthrough and raising hopes for the survival of thousands of the most seriously ill. Dexamethasone [...]
Clinical researchers are this week set to begin human trials of a new coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at Imperial College London. The study will be the first time the vaccine has been trialled in humans [...]
A form of the novel coronavirus which has become the dominant type in much of the world may have done so thanks to a mutation that allows it to better latch onto human hosts’ [...]
A widely available and inexpensive drug that is used to ease the symptoms of indigestion may prove a worthy contender for treating COVID-19 infection in those whose disease doesn’t require admission to hospital, suggest [...]
One of the most common COVID-19 tests involves a long swab pressed deep into the nasal cavities – and while the test can be administered quickly, it has been described as unpleasant and uncomfortable. [...]
Nature wades through the literature on the new coronavirus — and summarizes key papers as they appear: 1 June — Positive coronavirus test is no guarantee of infectiousness People with COVID-19 are unlikely to [...]
In April, blood clots emerged as one of the many mysterious symptoms attributed to Covid-19, a disease that had initially been thought to largely affect the lungs in the form of pneumonia. Quickly after came [...]
Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes. It uses a simple assay [...]