CRISPR breakthrough – “hairpin lock” provides increased accuracy and efficacy

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Researchers at Duke University have created a RNA lock technique that increases the accuracy of all CRISPR approaches and brings CRISPR closer to reality.

For those unaware, CRISPR is a technique for modifying DNA, which is still in the early stages of being proven as a means to target genetic diseases. One main problem with CRISPR is the inaccuracy of the guided RNA molecules, which often edit unintended segments of DNA code. In addition to this, the human body has multiple defenses of it’s genetic code that need to be bypassed. CRISPR has many challenges to overcome before it is used in a clinical setting.

From what we understand, the improved technique adds a tail of nucleotides to the guide RNA, which help lock it into the targeted DNA sequence. In tests with various CRISPR variations, the RNA lock increased the accuracy of edits 50 fold on average.

For more information on this, you can see Duke University’s press release here: https://pratt.duke.edu/about/news/crispr-hairpins

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