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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR, TALENs Combined to Edit Mitochondrial DNA

July 22, 2020

An inter-university team of scientists developed a method to successfully edit the mitochondrial DNA within living cells in a precise manner by combining two new breeding techniques: CRISPR and TALENs.

The scientists found an interbacterial toxin that enabled them to change a cytosine base in the DNA code to thiamine, thereby harnessing the potential to correct some point of mutations in the mitochondrial genome. This was further enhanced by delivering an editor that negated its toxicity and pairing it with a protein guide TALE that is able to cross the mitochondrial membrane. This resulted in the precise editing of mitochondrial DNA.

The newly discovered approach that combines the features of the CRISPR-based base editing and the older TALENs technique may eventually become a tool that scientists can use to better model mitochondrial diseases, as mitochondrial genome editors have the potential to help treat mitochondrial-derived diseases.

Read more from Nature and BioNews.

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