The Optimist Daily has reported on numerous potential uses of the biotechnology, CRISPR-Cas9, these include restoring lost vision in rare eye diseases, reducing obesity, and many more. This treatment may be the future of medicine, carrying the potential to save countless lives in the future for currently incurable diseases.
Before this incredible treatment can become widespread scientists need to make the procedure safe and more accurate. Currently, there is still a risk that the gene editing tool may cause a change to the host’s genome in an undesirable place, possibly causing a dangerous mutation.
Researchers from The University of Texas have come up with a solution to solve this by increasing the accuracy of the Cas9 protein. This structure is responsible for locating and cutting the target DNA, the key role in the editing process.
By modifying the Cas9 protein, the team was able to create SuperFi-Cas9 – details of how they achieved this were recently published in Nature. This improved structure is a thousand times less likely to target the wrong area of the genome, all the while being as efficient as the original.
“This really could be a game changer in terms of a wider application of the CRISPR-Cas systems in gene editing,” said Kenneth Johnson, the paper’s co-author.
So far, SuperFi-Cas9 has been tried out on DNA in test tubes, with the next step being to recruit living cells to test the technology on. In the future, scientists hope this breakthrough will allow more diseases to be treated with gene editing, with higher success and safety.
Source study: Nature – Structural basis for mismatch surveillance by CRISPR–Cas9