Genome Editing

Genome Editing

Gene scissors, molecular scalpel – these descriptive terms are intended to convey what the new method of gene editing with rather unwieldy name of CRISPR/Cas9 can do. As they suggest, the system, which, in its natural form, consists of two RNA molecules and one protein molecule, can cleave the hereditary molecule DNA. Moreover, it can do this with surgical precision at a specific site in the genome. This enables researchers to switch genes off or insert new sequences at the cutting site. As a result, DNA can be modified much faster and more easily than was possible using previous gene-editing methods. Although the system basically sounds simple, various factors must be coordinated with extreme precision for the gene scissors to be able to function with such accuracy. For this reason, even after 30 years of research, the functioning of CRISPR/Cas9 is still not entirely understood.

With the help of the enzyme-RNA-combination scientists can edit the genome with unprecedented accuracy more
The restriction enzymes zinc finger nucleases and TALENs are also suitable for modifying the DNA
For Emmanuelle Charpentier, deciphering the functioning of an enzyme previously known only to experts was a life-changing moment more
Stefan Mundlos, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, holds a very critical view of interventions in the human germline more
Scientists from China, the United States and Germany, among them Detlef Weigel of the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, propose a regulatory framework for genome editing in plants more

Gen-editing mit CRISPR/Cas9 (english subtitles)

At first, the discovery that bacteria are able to fight viruses with a adaptable immune system attracted only microbiologists. Only when scientists found out that CRISPR/Cas9, as the defence mechanism is called, is also suited for manipulating the genome of all kinds of organisms the system recieved broad attention. Find out how it works.

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View