Crop Biotech Update

Transposons Provide Insights on Making More Effective Genome Editors

June 9, 2022

Cas9 molecule (left) and IscB molecule (right)
Photo Source: Cornell Chronicle

Cornell University researchers are finding ways to make smaller and more useful versions of CRISPR-Cas9. Their findings are released in Science.

CRISPR has been an effective tool in genomic medicine. However, Cas9 size is too large to be fitted into genome therapy vectors. Cornell scientists explained how this can be addressed by looking into transposons, mobile genetic elements found inside bacteria. A family of transposons codes for IscB, which is less than half the size of Cas9 but equally capable of DNA editing. When Cas9 is replaced with IscB, the size problem is solved.

The researchers were able to remove non-essential parts of the IscB, and came up with slimmer variants. They think that it can be further reduced and become even more useful. Their next step is to find ways to improve the activity of the genome editor in human cells.

Read more from the Cornell Chronicle.

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