FierceBiotech – A Salk Institute team has created a form of CRISPR/Cas9 that can activate targeted genes without making breaks in the DNA. Eliminating the need to physically cut the DNA can cut down on the harmful side effects that might come with CRISPR.
Most CRISPR/Cas9 systems correct faulty genes by cutting two DNA strands and either deleting mutated genes or inserting healthy ones. But breaking the DNA makes it vulnerable to unintended, off-target mutations, which can lead to unwanted side effects.
Previous attempts to attach a "dead" form of Cas9 to molecules that activate targeted genes have seen little success. While these combinations can theoretically target specific genes without cutting them, they are too large to fit into the usual Cas9 delivery vehicle, an adeno-associated virus.
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