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New tool turns CRISPR into “genetic Swiss Army Knife”

CRISPR contains two main parts: guide RNA molecules that direct the tool to specific parts of the genome, and an enzyme that can then edit the genes at that specific location. The most commonly-used enzyme is Cas9, but other variations are emerging, such as Cas12aCas12b and CasX.

But as useful as CRISPR can be, it’s not perfect. Rather than focus on the enzyme, [researchers] instead made improvements to the guide RNA. The problem they set out to solve is that these molecules are “always on,” meaning they will seek out their target no matter where they are in an organism. This could lead to off-target mutations.

So the researchers on the new study engineered conditional guide RNAs (cgRNAs) that are more precise, and more powerful once they get to their target.

Read more at New Atlas

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