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Crop Biotech Update

TALEN Beats CRISPR-Cas9 in Editing Tightly-packed DNA

February 3, 2021

Genome editing tool known as TALEN was found to be 5 times more efficient than CRISPR-Cas9 at locating and editing genes in the densely-packed DNA called heterochromatin. Thus, it has more potential to address genetic defects in the heterochromatin such as sickle cell anemia,beta-thalassemia, fragile X syndrome, and others.

According to the article published in Nature, the researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana−Champaign used single-molecule imaging to observe the performance of genome-editing proteins in mammalian cells. This led them to the finding that Cas9 is less efficient in heterochromatin than TALEN because Cas9 becomes overloaded by local searches on non-specific sites in these regions. Furthermore, when TALEN was used instead of Cas9, the editing efficiency increased five times.

The results confirmed that TALEN is more effective in targeting specific sites in heterochromatin. TALEN can be used to fight diseases, improve crop traits, among other applications.

Read more findings in Nature and Illinois News Bureau.

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