Genetic engineering has transformed the modern world,provided a solution to many social and economic problems. However, science does not stand still, its development portends amazing new results achieved through the modification of genes using the latest technology.
Despite the achievements of modern science,editing the genome by changing the DNA chain, there are a number of problems and disadvantages even in such powerful tools as CRISPR / Cas9. In particular, the technique leads to frequent errors caused by the low accuracy of the tool and has a number of limitations. A team of scientists from Harvard University has proposed a new method of gene management that is highly accurate and capable of becoming the basis for the next stage of the genetic revolution.
The latest technique is called “primeediting ”(primitive editing) and was tested on the transformation of the genetic material of humans and mice. During the experiment, scientists carried out 175 various manipulations with the DNA strand, and a unique high accuracy of changes was achieved, with a significantly lower percentage of errors than with old methods such as CRISPR.
The high accuracy of the new method allowedstop and reverse human genetic mutations caused by sickle cell anemia and Tay-Sachs neurodegenerative disease. According to the developers, the new method should show a positive result in 89% of human pathogenic genetic mutations, which is about 67 thousand different variations.
Now outdated CRISPR technique, despitefor its high capabilities, is a rather crude tool that can be called "molecular scissors". The method uses a method for separating a DNA strand at the desired location and either splicing with another strand or installing an additional DNA region.
The technique of basic editors can be compared with“Molecular pencils” that erase and draw one of the four components of the DNA chain (A, C, T, G), which corrects the mutation. In this case, the integrity of the chain is not violated, as is the case when using the CRISPR method. Among the shortcomings of the new method, a high price and severe restrictions during the modification are noted.
Using Primary Editingbrings DNA chain editing to a whole new level that surpasses existing techniques. New tools allow you to detect predetermined sequences of genes and replace them with the “correct” sections of the chain. As a result of the experiment, there was not a single erroneous insertion, since this is excluded by the method of prime editing. Also, the method is available for solving a wide universal range of problems. To improve the accuracy of execution, the method uses triple confirmation. If you encounter problems at one of the three stages, the editing process ends.
Currently, the task of delivering a primed editor to the human body is being solved. At the same time, the developers announced that the new technique does not compete with CRISPR-Cas9, but complements it.