November 2015


The CRISPR-Cas9 system is a new tool that allows genome-editing.
Discovered as “immunity” mechanism in bacteria, it is now used by researchers to modify and manipulate an organism’s DNA .The method is based on a short sequence of RNA (called “guide”) that binds to a specific target sequence on a genome’s DNA (gene).The RNA also binds to an enzyme (Cas9) that can cut the DNA recognised by the guide. Once the DNA is cut in the specific position, the cell will try to repair it; this process is, however, error-prone and will lead to random mutations that can disable the gene.The system has been implemented and can now be used to mutate genes or to deliver a new DNA sequence in specific genomic positions. CRISPR-Cas9 is a very powerful tool that may be used to correct genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis.Many applications of this technique are currently being studied; nevertheless, the alteration of germline cells is arising caution in some.

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