CRISPR-Cas9 | 60 Second Science

Science is moving forward at a rapid pace. Over the next few weeks we'll be breaking down the headlines on our blog.

Genome editing is our vehicle to changing an organism’s DNA. This means that we can add, remove or change the DNA within a sequence. We’ve developed several techniques to edit genomes, one of which is CRISPR-Cas9. There are so many exciting possibilities with these techniques. These techniques can help us understand the genetic components of so many different diseases. If we can understand the function of each gene better we'll therefore be able to improve our treatment of illnesses and diseases with a genetic component. Potentially we'll then continue improving the prognosis for people living with various cancers, hepatitis and even high cholestrol. The possibilities could be endless.

What is CRISPR-Cas9?

It's short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) -associated protein 9.

Why is it so exciting?

 

CRISPR is really exciting for a number of reasons. It’s faster, cheaper and more accurate than a lot of other gene editing methods. The technique was adapted from something which naturally occurs in bacteria. Bacteria can capture snippets of DNA from invading viruses. They use these to create DNA segments known as CRISPR arrays. These allow bacteria to “remember” viruses or closely related ones. If the viruses attack again, bacteria produce RNA segments from the CRISPR arrays to target the viruses’ DNA. Bacteria are able to use Cas9 or similar enzymes to cut the DNA apart, disabling the virus.

We're improving these techniques all the time. There’s another technique which appears to be even more precise. It’s called prime editing. The technique nicks and replaces only one strand of DNA at a time. This means it’s much less likely to induce random insertions or deletions of DNA sequences - errors essentially. As a result, the technique is much more reliable.

Want to learn more about these techniques? Visit this website to find out more.

41124064215_9f57737a59_o

How can we help?

At Minnac Marketing, we work with a wide variety of life science companies - all at different stages. We pride ourselves on keeping up to date with all the latest scientific developments. With PhD-level expertise we work to understand your products so we can help to implement the most effective marketing strategy to create sales-ready leads.