Using CRISPR for the first time it was possible to edit several genes simultaneously

On the pages of our site we have repeatedlywrote about the advances in using the CRISPR genome editor. The technology is constantly evolving, becoming more advanced and allowing much more effective interaction with genetic material. However, CRISPR also had a minus (a very conditional minus, but still). CRISPR could work with one gene at a time. And in order to change another gene, it was necessary to carry out a second operation. However, Swiss biologists were able for the first time in history to edit several genes at once. And this is very important for the development of science as a whole.

What is CRISPR

Strictly speaking, the full name of the technologysounds like "CRISPR / Cas9". It is based on special sections of bacterial DNA, CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats - short palindromic cluster repeats). Between these repeats are DNA fragments. It is they, and, roughly speaking, that serve as a guide for CRISPR.

See also: On board the ISS for the first time used a DNA editing technique.

And where does Cas9 come from? Cas9 is a CRISPR-associated protein (CRISPR-associated sequence). That is, they can be said to only interact with CRISPR and will not cut anything out. In fact, we have something like “molecular scissors” that, like ordinary scissors, can cut something in only one place at a time. But how to make them act on several DNA sections simultaneously?

How scientists managed to edit several genes at once

As the editors of New Atlas refer toNature Methods magazine (by the way, if you want to receive news from the world of nuka among the first, we recommend subscribing to our Telegram channel), a group of researchers from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich (ETH Zurich) has demonstrated that their new gene editing process can simultaneously change 25 different parts of the genome. Scientists say that the new method is not necessarily limited to 25 targets, but could theoretically be increased to hundreds of simultaneous gene modifications.

Instead of using the traditional Cas9 protein,used in most cases when working with CRISPR, this method uses the much less well-known Cas12a. Previous research has already shown that Cas12a is slightly more accurate in its ability to identify target genes, but a new study shows that Cas12a can also process shorter moieties compared to Cas9.

The general methodology of CRISPR-Cas is aimed attarget in the DNA sequence using the so-called RNA guide. These RNA molecules, as scientists call them, are a kind of plate number on houses. According to these "tablets" CRISPR is oriented, cutting out the necessary sections. Experts from Switzerland managed to place several “plates” on the DNA molecule at once. Thus, in one operation, it became possible to edit several sections.

According to scientists, the new technique is significantlyit will speed up the process of cell reprogramming, and will also allow a much more complete study of the mechanisms of formation of genetic diseases, because often mutations in the genome are much more complicated than “single” changes. In the future, the emergence of new methods of treatment of genetic diseases.