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Bridge editing may surpass CRISPR in DNA alteration

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 25 days ago

A recent discovery in DNA editing technology has the potential to revolutionize genome editing beyond what is currently possible with CRISPR-based techniques. Known as the "bridge editing" system, this new form of genome editor physically links two pieces of DNA, allowing for broader genomic changes.

CRISPR gene editing has been a game-changer in biology since its introduction in 2012, but it primarily functions as a gene destroyer rather than a gene editor. While CRISPR Cas9 can be programmed to seek out specific parts of the genome and cut DNA at those sites, researchers have been working on modifying CRISPR proteins to edit DNA directly without relying on cell repair mechanisms.

The bridge-editing system discovered by Patrick Hsu and his team at the Arc Institute in California consists of a recombinase protein that, like CRISPR Cas9, binds to a guide RNA. What sets it apart is that the guide RNA specifies two DNA sequences to target, allowing for more precise and scarless alterations to the genome.

While bridge editing has only been demonstrated in bacterial cells and test tubes so far, researchers are hopeful that it could eventually be adapted to work in more complex cells like those of humans. The potential applications of this technology are vast, from treating genetic diseases to reshaping the genomes of plants and animals on a chromosome-scale level.

Although the full implications of bridge editing are still unknown, scientists like Stephen Tang at Columbia University acknowledge the excitement and potential of this new discovery. Further research and development will be needed to determine the effectiveness of bridge editing in human cells, but the possibilities for genome engineering are promising.

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