Indian Scientists New CRISPR Technique
Indian researchers have developed a new variant of the currently popular gene-editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9. They have shown that this variant can increase precision in editing genome while avoiding unintended changes in DNA.
The scientists have also demonstrated that this type of gene editing can be used to correct sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder.
The laboratory experiments have been done in human-derived cells from patients of sickle cell anemia. The research has been done by scientists from the New Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
CRISPR-Cas9 stands for ‘Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9. Scientists ascross the globe have reprogrammed the naturally occurring gene-editing system CRISPR-Cas9 found in bacteria.
Indian Scientists New CRISPR Technique- Challenges With CRISPR
This protein can be programmed to go to the preferred location in the genome and correct or edit defective strands of DNA. The technology, when used precisely, may be used to treat different genetic disorders. However, the current technique faces significant challenges as the ‘molecular scissors’ could sometimes miss its target and result in unintentional results.
One of the most widely used Cas9 enzymes in gene editing is Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) and its engineered variants.
They have been used for several gene-editing applications across different platforms. The significant concerns remain regarding their off-targeting at multiple locations across the genome.
Indian Scientists New CRISPR Technique- The New Technique Adopted
To overcome these challenges, Indian researchers used another naturally occurring Cas9 from a bacteria called Francisella novicida.
The researchers have found that the protein FnCas9 shows a negligible binding affinity to off-targets. This property makes it highly specific and eliminates the challenges faced by SpCas9. In the study, the researches found that FnCas9 showed higher homology-directed repair and negligible off-targeting.
The New technique by Indian Scientists has been applied to correct DNA derived from patients of sickle cell anemia.
The researchers said that FnCas9-mediated correction of the sickle cell mutation in patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells was highly precise. Therefore this therapeutic genome editing can be for a wide variety of genetic disorders.
The team of -Indian Scientists New CRISPR Technique– researchers from IGIB included Sundaram Acharya, Arpit Mishra, Deepanjan Paul, Asgar Hussain Ansari, among others.