An international team has unveiled a new CRISPR-based tool that acts more like a shredder than the usual scissor-like action of CRISPR-Cas9. The new approach, based on Type I CRISPR-Cas3, is able to wipe out long stretches of DNA in human cells with programmable targeting, and has been shown to work in human cells for the first time.
Scientists developed a new version of a gene drive that allows the spread of specific, favorable genetic variants, also known as ‘alleles,’ throughout a population. The new ‘allelic drive’ is equipped with a guide RNA that directs CRISPR to cut undesired variants of a gene and replace it with a preferred version. Using a word processing analogy, CRISPR-based gene drives allow scientists to edit sentences of genetic information, while the new allelic drive offers letter-by-letter editing.
The oldest publicly available strain of the cholera-causing bacterial species, Vibrio cholerae, has had its genetic code read for the first time. The bacterium was isolated from a British soldier during World War One (WWI) and stored for over 100 years before being revived and sequenced. The results show that this strain is a unique, non-toxigenic strain of V. cholerae that’s distantly related to the strains of bacteria causing cholera pandemics today and in the past.
Investigators have found evidence that the gene Ccdc117 supports the rapid growth of precursor cells needed for proper development of right-sided heart structures. It does so by promoting transfer of iron-sulfur compounds to enzymes crucial for DNA replication and repair. Silencing Ccdc117 impedes cell growth, which may prevent heart structures from developing properly.
Scientists have developed a strategy for editing and repairing a particular type of genetic mutation associated with microduplications using CRISPR/Cas9 and a seldom-used DNA repair pathway. This approach to programmable gene editing overcomes prior inefficiencies in gene correction.
Bhatia’s team spent more than six years delving down to the cellular level to examine what they say are previously overlooked cells that form on the edges of pluripotent stem cell colonies. Having characterized these cells, the team also observed them form at the earliest stages of pluripotent cell reprogramming from adult cells.
Using a novel optical imaging technique, researchers discovered connections between the macromolecular structure and dynamic movement of chromatin within eukaryotic cells.