STATES CHRONICLE – Scientists have finally discovered how to control CRISPR. CRISPR-Cas9 developed in bacteria like an immune system designed to protect against infections. Nevertheless, during the last ten years, this has triggered scientists coordinating them towards its general use as a gene editing system. Thus, researchers were able to alter genetic data and control the activity of genes efficiently.
Many specialists hope CRISPR will help them speed up the process of directly treating any genetic disorders. However, this technology did not prove its efficiency yet, delivering unintended modifications together with the required ones. Bioethicists frown upon this technology being afraid of the fact that the power which lies at its core increases the possibility of potential harm.
This revolutionary technology proved to be easy to use, thus becoming accessible to all specialists in this domain. The lead author of the study is Dr. Joseph Bondy-Denomy from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.
He declared that the anti-CRISPR proteins which were recently revealed could be extremely helpful to solve the most significant issues. They could enable an accurate control over CRISPR, but at the same time, they will be able to provide a fail-safe in case an incident occurs, prohibiting a disaster from happening.
To unveil these proteins, Dr. Bondy-Denomy together with his colleagues has analyzed the race which developed billions of years ago between the bacteria which produced the CRISPR and other viruses. To build an anti-CRISPR protein capable of fighting against the CRISPR-Cas9 system, they have developed a stratagem. The CRISPR-Cas9 depends on a protein known as SpyCas9 which is used as DNA clipper.
Researchers thought that they might succeed in identifying bacteria which had CRISPR systems which were inactive. They tried to find evidence of bacterial strains in which viruses managed to penetrate through the blockade formed by the Cas9 and they decided to insert those genes into the bacterial genome.
Scientists believed that phages probably transmit anti-CRISPR proteins. Otherwise, the Cas9 would have destroyed the bacteria by modifying its genome where the DNA had been previously inserted. The team of researchers managed to analyze approximately three hundred strains of Listeria. Further studies helped them isolate only four different types of anti-CRISPR proteins that demonstrated to be able to block the Listeria Cas9 protein’s activity.
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