Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a way to apply a powerful new DNA-editing technology more broadly than ever before.
“This is one of the hottest tools in biology, and we’ve now found a way to target it to any DNA sequence,” said Carlos F. Barbas III, the Janet and Keith Kellogg II Chair in Molecular Biology and Professor in the Department of Chemistry at TSRI.
The breakthrough concerns a set of designer DNA-binding proteins called TALEs, which biologists increasingly use to turn on, turn off, delete, insert or even rewrite specific genes within cells—for scientific experiments and also for potential biotech and medical applications, including treatments for genetic diseases.
TALE-based methods had been considered useful against only a fraction of the possible DNA sequences found in animals and plants, but the new finding removes that limitation.
Barbas and his team report their finding on August 26, 2013 in an advance online edition of the journal Nucleic Acids Research.
Molecular biologists have long dreamed of being able to manipulate DNA in living cells with ease and precision, and by now that dream is nearly a reality. TALE-based designer proteins, introduced just a few years ago, are arguably the most user-friendly and precise DNA-directed tools that have yet been invented.
Read more at: Phys.org