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MIT Research News

October 24, 2018

New CRISPR tool opens up more of the genome for editing

Enzyme can target almost half of the genome’s “ZIP codes” and could enable editing of many more disease-specific mutations.

Helen Knight | MIT News correspondent

The genome editing system CRISPR has become a hugely important tool in medical research, and could ultimately have a significant impact in fields such as agriculture, bioenergy, and food security.

The targeting system can travel to different points on the genome, guided by a short sequence of RNA, where a DNA-cutting enzyme known as Cas9 then makes the desired edits.

However, despite the gene-editing tool’s considerable success, CRISPR-Cas9 remains limited in the number of locations it can visit on the genome.