Scientists Have Created A Way to “Delete” DNA in Living Cells

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IN BRIEF

  • Our DNA has “dark matter” of its own: the non-coding DNA that covers about 99 percent of our genetic code.
  • New techniques utilizing CRISPR created “molecular scissors” that can snip out pieces of non-coding DNA, and may be able to target disease-causing genes.

EDITING THE BODY’S BLUEPRINT – CRISPR-Cas9 is the most advanced and efficient gene editing tool we have. It’s uses, however, have been largely limited to silencing protein-coding genes in the DNA. This leaves out what’s called the DNA “dark matter” — the non-coding DNA that covers about 99 percent of our genetic code. A study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology may soon change this. The new technique, developed by a team of researchers led by Carlos Pulido, is a software pipeline called CRISPETa. It’s based on a breakthrough tool (which uses CRISPR-Cas9) called DECKO. The tool was recently developed by the Johson lab, and was specifically designed for deleting those pieces of non-coding DNA. DECKO employs two sgRNAs as “molecular scissors” that snip out a piece of DNA. While the concept might seem simple, designing deletion experiments using DECKO was time consuming due to thee lack of software to create the required sgRNAs…..Read More