Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR Application to Lower Incidence of Antimicrobial Resistance

May 31, 2023

Scientists from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom published the results of their study that explained how they used CRISPR-Cas gene editing system to engineer a plasmid that specifically targets the resistance gene for Gentamicin, a commonly used antibiotic.

Resistance among bacteria is developed when resistant genes are transported between hosts. This can occur in circular strands of DNA called plasmids, in which resistance can easily spread and replicate between bacteria such as in human bodies and environmental settings like waterways. This became the focus of the scientific study wherein the researchers modified a plasmid that protected its host cell from developing resistance using gene editing technology to target specific sequences of its DNA. The results showed that the plasmid targeted antimicrobial resistant genes in hosts to which it transferred, effectively reversing their resistance.

The new tool is a promising feature that exploits a bacterial immune system as a gene editing tool to reduce antimicrobial resistance. Resistance to antibiotics is considered a major global threat as it causes millions of deaths annually around the world.

Details of the study can be found in Microbiology. Further information was released by the University of Exeter.

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