Cornell Prof. Discovers ‘Craspase,’ Utilizing Protein Cleaving Instead of Direct Gene Editing

Prof. Ailong Ke, molecular biology and genetics, together with the Brouns Lab at Felt University of Technology in the Netherlands, recently discovered a relationship between a family of proteases and CRISPR that could change our understanding of gene editing technology.

CRISPR is a genetic engineering tool that identifies and alters a specific segment of DNA. The most common type of CRISPR systems are RNA-directed nucleases, in which a “guide RNA” directs the associated nucleus to the desired segment of the genome for editing of the genome through base-pairing interactions.

Today, CRISPR is used in agriculture and even in mosquito genome editing to curb the spread of malaria. Although CRISPR is more commonly used in non-human organisms, there are clinical trials to test if CRISPR can fix genetic defects and mutations that cause diseases and diseases like cancer.

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