Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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New approach allows individual gene-edited cells to be followed during development

13 September 2020

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Precision gene editing techniques such as CRISPR have revolutionised biomedical research over the past few years. Scientists are now able to add, remove or alter specific genes – or even specific ‘letters’ of the genetic code – in ever more sophisticated ways in order to understand how genes work in healthy cells or organisms and what happens when they go wrong in disease. Two of the greatest challenges in the field are accuracy and efficiency, ensuring that only the right changes are made and that as many cells as possible are modified. These images of zebrafish embryos reveal the cells that have been altered using a new, highly specific gene editing tool, enabling researchers to follow distinct cell types during development. It's not just zebrafish – the new technique also works in pig and human cells, suggesting it could be used much more widely for genetic engineering and gene therapy in the future.

Written by Kat Arney

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