In recent years, scientists have made ground-breaking discoveries in gene-editing, including the CRISPR gene-editing system. But the latest one might surprise you because a DNA edit can repair an entire range of health concerns. A new type of gene-editing technique acts like the find-and-replace operation in various word processors. Scientists assert the mechanism can more precisely fix DNA alterations behind adverse conditions like sickle cell disease. A team of researchers from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discovered the latest gene-editing technique. They claim the new methodology is superb to the innovative but disputable CRISPR gene-editing technology.
The new approach, prime editing, could repair almost 90% of affected or disease-causing genes. In a study published on Monday, the researchers say they have successfully edited human cells in the lab to eliminate and replace the DNA liable for diseases like Tay-Sachs and sickle cells. Scientists say more than 10,000 diseases take place because of single-gene alterations. In such types of illnesses, an integral of genetic code is improper or absent. Usually, the genetic code consists of four bases, indicated by the alphabets A, T, G, and C.
The first-ever CRISPER scheme designed to edit the human genome has functioned using an enzyme Cas9. The team has utilized Cas9 protein to identify and target particular bases and CRISPR gene-editing technology to cut out a piece of genetic code. After cutting both strings of DNA in two places, they have removed a part of DNA and place something else. The concept was to wipe out troublesome genes and replace them with more good or advantageous shreds of DNA. Despite being such a powerful system, it poses some risks. Cutting entire sections of DNA and then injecting new ones can lead to some faults. Notably, some studies pinpoint that the technique imposes a risk of cancer in a patient. Above all, the tool may sometimes miss the right place, and making off-center edits can result in all types of problems.
In the current finding, the team has corrected gene variants that result in diseases like sickle-cell anemia. Even more, the team has tested the latest prime editing technique in human cells and primary mouse neurons. They have gained success in a variety of edit types. Currently, the team aims to pursue testing the prime editing mechanism in animal models and human cells. The team has published their findings in the journal Nature.