Technological advancement and continuous research have made genome editing possible and now scientists can add or drop traits in genetic structures of live cells.
However, the effectiveness of methods and tools involved in the process have always faced limitations in meeting set goals, and as such, scientists have managed to come up with a better editing technique which they say is 100 to 1000 times more efficient than existing genome editing methods.
With the new technique, it is said that users would have a complete spatiotemporal control in the procedures, adding that this would help to tread lightly on DNA. In effect, it allows room for better decision making, like where exactly to release a genome editing protein.
The Major Obstacle in Genome Editing
It’s funny that often in in-cell editing, the exact involved cell, in particular, happens to be the biggest obstacle in the procedure. As in, our cells are designed to shun taking in stuff.
“What the human cell does is that it has a trash disposal mechanism which identifies, set-apart and breaks down unwanted proteins, pathogens, damaged cellular structures and other biomolecules,” explained professor Norbert Reich from the University of California Santa Barbara.
This means people working in genomic research, biopharmacology, biotechnology, and therapeutics – those who interact with juggernaut CRISPR-Cas9 technology –their success lies fully in their skill and ability to bypass the cell’s defensive mechanism to introduce (with utter accuracy) the required protein segment into the specimen cell.
A New Milestone in Genome Editing
Now, Reich and his team say they’ve developed a better method, which promises a 100 to 1000 times higher success rate, as well as gives the user full spatiotemporal control during the process to assure delivery. Adding on that, the user is also given freedom to decide where to release genome editing proteins, to the exact required spot.
Reich explained that it is now possible to hit individual cells as well as the specific part of a cell they want the protein released. “The achievement is that this gives us control over when and where the protein that is tasked with cutting the DNA is going to get released. The report on this research also appears in the journal Small.
Breakthrough in Biotechnology
Basically, genome-editing mimics a defense mechanism used by archaea and bacteria where the organism is able to recognize DNA from unfriendly and attacking viruses then demarcate them for elimination.
From this researchers have since come up with methods to identify, cut and bind sets of gene sequences of varying length with the help of different proteins.
Now for the past decade, the field of biotechnology has enjoyed major breakthroughs facilitated by technological advancement and other factors like deeper research.
Talking of progress in gene editing approach, scientists have used a range of “molecular scissors” and all come with different success rates. They have used CRISPR, Cas and now Cre, the new method we are talking about.
All these molecular scissors are super effective and can be used to cut and paste a segment of the target DNA sequences thereby allowing users to dictate the genome structure.
Using the new molecular scissor and the technique that goes with it, this biotechnology promises massive benefits, from facilitating basic research that identifies and determines the function of genes to effective therapies that might help fix cellular defects.