MAR 28, 2019 8:09 AM PDT

A Record-Shattering 13,200 Edits Made in a Single Cell

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Since the CRISPR gene editor was introduced several years ago, scientists have improved on and modified the technique in several ways. While CRISPR is usually used to change one part of the genome, a team in the lab of George Church at Harvard University has performed 13,200 edits in the genome of a single cell. They aim to make huge changes to the genome and allow for a “radical redesign” of mammals - according to the abstract of their research paper describing the work.

The scientists, Oscar Castanon and Cory Smith, targeted a repetitive genomic element called LINE-1, which make up around 17 percent of the human genome. Long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs) are evolutionarily ancient, and LINE-1 is a transposon, or jumping gene that can move around the genome. Althugh they don't appear to be detrimental, there's a lot we don't know about them, and some research has suggested that they may cause problems. In this work, the scientists looked for a way to remove many of them at once.

To enable the cell to survive after that huge number of changes, instead of removing nucleotide bases from the genomic sequence, they swapped the bases with another letter. Thus, the genome remained stable and the cell lived.

Source: BioRxiv

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
APR 21, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 21, 2020
Male Silverback Gorilla Gets Rejected After Attempt to Impress Female
Silverback gorillas are somewhat renowned for their powerful arms and legs. In many cases, males use their brute strengt ...
APR 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 28, 2020
NASA's Swift Telescope Measured the Water Loss of This Interstellar Comet
When the interstellar comet 2l/Borisov made its first appearance in our solar system, astronomers were quick to turn the ...
MAY 14, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAY 14, 2020
NASA's ICESat-2 Mission Reports Changes in Arctic Ice Thickness
Arctic sea ice is vital to Earth's climate system, and recent decades have seen troubling declines in sea ice due to ...
MAY 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 31, 2020
These Penguin Chicks Now Face the Trials of Adulthood
Like any other bird species, adult penguins follow the tried and true tradition of raising their young close to the nest ...
JUN 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
JUN 02, 2020
Why Do So Many Animals Have Different Styles of Headgear?
A substantial number of animals have evolved to have ornate and functional headgear that can help them defend themselves ...
JUN 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JUN 08, 2020
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
There are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth today, with some residing in Low-Earth Orbit and others following a ...
Loading Comments...