Scientists have created a more efficient version of CRISPR.
A team at the Joint Institute of Metrology and Biology have refined the gene editing process with “MAGESTIC,” a.k.a. Multiplexed Accurate Genome Editing with Short, Trackable, Integrated Cellular Barcodes.
The gene-editing platform is an improved version of CRISPR, which has traditionally been used in the process, but often caused unintended mutations. CRISPR is used to search genomes for specific DNA strands to modify of remove them, in order to combat harmful mutations and diseases, like cancer cells, before they have a chance to grow. But unfortunately, CRISPR isn’t immune to side effects, which can happen as a result of DNA not being able to rejoin or cells dying before they have a chance to be edited.
MAGESTIC works more like a word processor. Instead of cutting DNA and trying to find the right match, the process can replace DNA more precisely and with a seven times better rate of survival for cells.
“MAGESTIC is like an advancement in the ‘control F’ [find text] operation of a word-processing program, with the replace-text command allowing a desired change,” explained one of its developers Kevin Roy.