In experiments, ‘base editors’ reverse disease-causing mutations
New gene-editing tools can correct typos that account for about half of disease-causing genetic spelling errors.
Researchers have revamped the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editor so that it converts the DNA base adenine to guanine, biological chemist David Liu and colleagues report October 25 in Nature. In a separate study, published October 25 in Science, other researchers led by CRISPR pioneer Feng Zhang re-engineered a gene editor called CRISPR/Cas13 to correct the same typos in RNA instead of DNA.
Together with other versions of CRISPR/Cas9, the new editors offer scientists an expanded set of precision tools for correcting diseases.
CRISPR/Cas9 is a molecular scissors that snips DNA. Scientists can guide the scissors to the place they want to cut in an organism’s genetic instruction book with a guide