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New Research Transfors CRISPR Into A Genetic Swiss Army Knife | Innovation Discoveries

The CRISPR tool is developing at an unprecedented pace into a powerful way of editing genes of bacteria, mammals, humans, plants, and even reptiles. In fact, it is also referred to as ‘genetic scissors. ’ However, a new improvement can turn it into a genetic Swiss Army Knife. A research was conducted by Caltech that has improved the formula for helping the tool to zoom in on particular organs, tissues, or cell types.

The research has also imparted enhanced control over what will happen next. The most commonly used enzyme is Cas9, but other variations are also coming up, including Cas12a, Cas12b, and CasX. Instead of focusing on the enzyme, the Caltech team focused on making improvements to the guide RNA. The problem that they wanted to solve was that these molecules are ‘always on.

This means that they are always seeking out their target regardless of where they are present in an organism. This could end up causing off-target mutations. The researchers on the latest study developed conditional guide RNAs that are not only more precise but also more powerful once they reach their target. These cgRNAs work like If/Then statements that are generally found in programming languages.

The team has conducted tests of this technique in bacteria and was capable of showcasing both on/off and off/on logics.

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