An inducible, multi target, gene-editing toolbox

27 July 2016

A team from Yale University has developed a gene editing toolbox which is able to edit multiple genes at once whilst minimising unwanted effects.

Gene-editing continues to be a hot topic. With the news that human trials for CRISPR editing have been given the go ahead in China, and are likely to go ahead in the United States, concerns about the technologies unintended effects still abound

Now, the University of Yale has announced that their researchers have developed a new 'toolbox' capable of targeting multiple genes whilst limiting the unintended effects. The paper: ‘An easy and efficient inducible CRISPR/Cas9 platform with improved specificity for multiple gene targeting’ was published in Nucleic Acids Research.

The team theorised that they could reduce the number of unwanted effects of editing by modifying the CAS9 enzyme with a drug based treatment that can turn the system off once it has done its job and before it starts editing off-target sites. The system also allows the editing of multiple genes at the same time, reducing the complexity of gene editing. 

In tests, the system showed a significant reduction in off-target effects (i.e. unwanted editing) without a reduction in the system’s ability to cut the desired genes - results which the team believe demonstrate the superiority of their system to existing inducible systems. They hope that their “toolbox” of CRISPR editing will be a boon to researchers, facilitating more accurate editing whilst allowing greater scope.

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