Biotech Updates

TAL Effector Nucleases, a New Genetic Tool for Plant and Human Targets

April 15, 2011

TAL effector nucleases are the new tools for genome engineering. Researchers at Iowa State University and University of Minnesota developed the tool to aid researches in developing targeted changes in plant and human genome. "TAL effector nucleases are like scissors that find and cut specific DNA sequences," said Adam Bogdanove, associate professor in plant pathology, and co-inventor.

"Precise targeting could drastically reduce the time needed to develop a transgenic crop with improved traits, and would remove the potential for unexpected changes in the genome due to random insertion of a transgene." An important application is in cell therapy to treat genetic disorders, where better targeting would allow correction of defects in a patient's own stem cells, he added.

Recently, a Paris-based biotechnology company Cellectis has signed an exclusive license agreement with the two universities to obtain the right to use and market TAL effector nucleases.

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