The cures for some of the world's most perplexing diseases might be closer than we think.
They have previously used this tool to remove HIV from human immune
cells and shut down HIV replication permanently, according to a study
published in Nature in March.
opens up a new area of thinking about manipulating genes and disease,”
Gene Yeo, associate professor of molecular medicine at UCSD and a senior
author of the study, told Discovery. “In
many diseases you cannot edit the genome, you can break the genome into
pieces. But here we are doing transcription engineering or editing.
That’s quite exciting.”
The gene-editing technique could lead to treatments for diseases that
are linked to defective RNA and have previously been untreatable. These
include certain cancers, fragile X syndrome and autism.
CRISPR-Cas9 can also potentially be used to edit genes that determine
our physical features and maybe even our personality, leading to
ethical questions about how to responsibly use the technology.
Discovery reports that the National Academy of Sciences is working on a set of ethical rules for this burgeoning field.
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