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CRISPR-Cas9 Improved 10,000-Fold by Synthetic Nucleotides

07:14 EDT 16 Apr 2018 | Genetic Engineering News

Scientists at the University of Alberta in Canada have developed a technology that can dramatically improve the specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. The approach uses synthetic guide molecules known as bridged nucleic acids (BNAs) in place of the system’s native guide RNAs (gRNAs) to direct the Cas9 enzyme to its target DNA sequence, and so reduce off-target DNA cleavage. “We've discovered a way to greatly improve the accuracy of gene-editing technology by replacing the natural guide molecule it uses with a synthetic one called a bridged nucleic acid, or BNA,” claims lead researcher Basil Hubbard, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Molecular Therapeutics and assistant professor at the University of Alberta’s Department of Pharmacology. “Our research shows that the use of bridged nucleic acids to guide Cas9 can improve its specificity by over 10,000 times in certain instances—a dramatic improvement.” The University of Alberta team and colleagues at ...

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