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Scientists at Harvard University have created a gene editing tool comparable to CRISPR



Researchers at Harvard University’s Wise Institute for Bio-Inspired Engineering have created a new gene editing tool that allows scientists to perform millions of genetic experiments at the same time. They call it Retron Library Recombineering (RLR) technology, which uses bacterial DNA fragments, called Retrons, to produce single-stranded DNA fragments.

In terms of gene editing, CRISPR-Cas9 may be the most famous technology today. In the past few years, it has been causing a sensation in the scientific community, providing researchers with the tools needed to easily alter DNA sequences. It is more accurate than previously used techniques and has a wide range of potential applications, including life-saving treatments for various diseases.

However, this tool has some major limitations. It may be difficult for one person to deliver CRISPR-Cas9 materials in large quantities, which is still a question of research and experimentation. Moreover, the way the technology works may be toxic to cells, because the Cas9 enzyme (the molecular “scissors”

; responsible for cutting DNA strands) can often also cut non-target sites.

CRISPR-Cas9 physically cuts DNA during the repair process to integrate the mutant sequence into its genome. At the same time, reverse transcription can introduce the mutated DNA strand into the replicating cell, so that the strand can be integrated into the DNA of the daughter cell. In addition, reverse transcription sequences can be used as “barcodes” or “name tags”, allowing scientists to track individuals in bacterial pools. This means that they can be used for genome editing without damaging natural DNA, and can be used to perform multiple experiments in a large mixture.

Scientists at the Wyss Institute tested the RLR Escherichia coli Bacteria, and found that 90% of the population added the Retron sequence after some adjustments. They were also able to prove how useful it is in large-scale genetic experiments.During the test, they were able to find antibiotic resistance mutations Escherichia coli By sorting the barcodes of the convolutional code instead of sorting individual mutants, the process is faster.

Max Schubert, co-first author of the study, explained:

“RLR enables us to do things that CRISPR cannot do: we randomly chop up bacterial genomes, convert these gene fragments into single-stranded DNA in situ, and use them to screen millions of sequences at the same time. RLR is a simpler and more Simple method. Flexible gene editing tools can be used for highly multiple experiments, eliminating the toxicity often observed in CRISPR, and improving researchers’ ability to explore mutations at the genome level…

For a long time, CRISPR has been considered a strange thing done by bacteria, and figuring out how to use it for genome engineering has changed the world. Retrograde is another bacterial innovation that may also bring some important advances. “

Before RLR is widely used, there is still a lot of work to be done, including improving and standardizing its editing rate. The team believes that it can “lead to new, exciting and unexpected innovations.”

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