Biotech Updates

New CRISPR-Like System Could Revolutionize Genome Editing

July 5, 2023

A team of experts led by Feng Zhang at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reported the first programmable RNA-guided system in eukaryotic organisms, including plants, animals, and fungi. Their findings are published in Nature.

The system's main component is a protein called Fanzor, which uses RNA as a guide to target DNA accurately. Fanzors can also be reprogrammed to edit the genome of human cells. These systems could be efficiently delivered to cells, and tissues better than CRISPR-Cas systems and could still be adjusted to perform more efficiently. According to Zhang, the Fanzor system provides another technique to make accurate modifications in human cells, complementing the available genome editing tools. Thus, their main goal is to develop genetic medicines using the systems to modulate human cells by targeting particular genes and processes.

“Nature is amazing. There's so much diversity…There are probably more RNA-programmable systems out there, and we're continuing to explore and will hopefully discover more,” he added.

Read more from MIT News.

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