In the biotech industry, CRISPR is turning out to be one of the most efficient and advanced technologies that can help genetically modify organisms in a simple and plain manner. This revolutionary technology can edit at the most 7 genes in a single go. This technique creates some hurdles in cell therapies as the entire network of genes needs to be reprogrammed to gain full control over a cell’s fate. The researchers from Switzerland have found a way to trounce the limitation using a CRISPR technique that can edit 25 genes in a single go. The researchers believe that the number can be increased to 100 genes at a time in order to have access to the entire gene network and also to convert recondition stem cells to become cell therapies like skin cells or insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
The most commonly used gene-editing technique is “CRISPR-Cas9” in which the DNA-cutting enzyme Cas9 and an RNA molecule guiding it are used. In the latest study, instead of Cas9, the enzyme Cas12a that can cut both DNA and RNA was used. Many RNA guide molecules were used to help Cas12a make multiple gene cuts. This technique can fine-tune cell therapies and it can also silence target genes by annihilating mRNA molecules encoding the gene. The team has been able to create many elements at ETH Zurich using the Cas12a enzyme and build a Swiss army knife that can perform various actions.
The researchers hope to put this technology to use in areas of commercial gain and at the same time work toward patenting the technique. With the CRISPR-Cas9 technology gaining popularity, the researchers are expanding their horizons beyond Cas9. Likely, the CRISPR technology is being used by a German giant BASF as it has the license to use CRISPR-Cpf1 that was built by the US Broad Institute last year for modifying the crops and microbes. In the entire genome, the Cpf1 enzyme is able to edit and access the regions that the Cas9 enzyme is incapable of.
Odell is the Contributing Author of CMYK Digest’s Health section. With Doctor of Medicine Degree and almost 6 years of profound experience in the field of Health, he has exceptional command over writing news on health-related topics. His substantial quality of being a great observer and hands-on experience in this field allows him to carry out a thorough research on any topic selected to write a news report and make it more informative. While he strongly believes in journalism ethics, he does not allow any mistake in the news published through the Health section and ensures that the news published is comprehensible and error-free.