Scientists create gene-editing tool that may revolutionize DNA engineering

Researchers created a programmable tool that can precisely target and relocate genetic sequences with greater accuracy than CRISPR, the industry standard.

1 minute & 27 seconds read time

A team of scientists created a new gene-editing tool that they claim is more accurate than the industry standard, CRISPR.

Scientists create gene-editing tool that may revolutionize DNA engineering 789

Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, developed what is called SeekRNA, a new gene-editing tool that uses a programmable ribonucleic acid (RNA) strand capable of identifying and inserting itself into specific sites in genetic sequences. The team behind the project is being led by Dr. Sandro Ataide in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, and their findings have already been published in Nature Communications.

The team explained that while CRISPR is the industry standard when it comes to genetic engineering, having revolutionized multiple industries such as medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology, it doesn't come without any problems. According to Dr. Ataide, SeekRNA differentiates itself from CRISPR in various ways, such as by not requiring any extra components to be cut and pasted into genetic sequences. SeekRNA is a stand-alone cut-and-paste tool that has higher accuracy.

Furthermore, CRISPR relies on creating a break in both strands of target DNA, which is the double-helix strand that commonly depicts a DNA sequence. While CRISPR is certainly impressive in its own right it requires the use of proteins or the DNA repair machinery to insert the new DNA sequence into its designated location. This process can produce errors in the code.

"SeekRNA can precisely cleave the target site and insert the new DNA sequence without the use of any other proteins. This allows for a much cleaner editing tool with higher accuracy and fewer errors," said Dr. Ataide

"We are tremendously excited by the potential for this technology. SeekRNA's ability to target selection with precision and flexibility sets the stage for a new era of genetic engineering, surpassing the limitations of current technologies," Dr Ataide said.

"With CRISPR you need extra components to have a 'cut-and-paste tool', whereas the promise of seekRNA is that it is a stand-alone 'cut-and-paste tool' with higher accuracy that can deliver a wide range of DNA sequences."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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