Innovating CRISPR To Make SeekRNA Gene Editing
Medicine

Innovating CRISPR To Make SeekRNA Gene Editing

Gene editing has revolutionized the field of genetics, with CRISPR technology leading the way. However, recent developments suggest that we are on the brink of an even more precise and flexible method: seekRNA.

SeekRNA is an advanced gene-editing tool that builds upon the foundation laid by CRISPR. While CRISPR-Cas9 technology has been a game-changer, enabling scientists to make precise cuts in DNA, it has limitations. CRISPR works by breaking both strands of the target DNA and requires additional proteins or cellular machinery to insert new genetic material. This process can sometimes introduce errors, limiting its accuracy and reliability.

What is SeekRNA?

SeekRNA is an advanced gene-editing tool that utilizes programmable ribonucleic acid (RNA) to precisely target and modify genetic sequences. This patented method builds on the successes of CRISPR technology but unlike CRISPR, which requires additional components for gene editing, seekRNA operates as a stand-alone ‘cut-and-paste tool’ with enhanced accuracy and flexibility. This innovation promises greater accuracy and flexibility in gene editing, potentially revolutionizing the field.

CRISPR relies on creating breaks in both DNA strands, utilizing other proteins for insertion, which can lead to errors. SeekRNA, however, can precisely cleave and insert new DNA sequences without requiring additional proteins, resulting in higher accuracy and fewer errors.

SeekRNA’s mechanism is derived from naturally occurring insertion sequences known as IS1111 and IS110, found in bacteria and archaea. Most insertion sequence proteins exhibit little to no target selectivity. However, IS1111 and IS110 are highly specific, allowing seekRNA to achieve precise genetic targeting. This specificity enables seekRNA to modify any genomic sequence and insert new DNA in a precise orientation without the errors associated with CRISPR.

Research

University of Sydney

Scientists at the University of Sydney have developed a gene-editing tool with greater accuracy and flexibility than the industry standard, CRISPR, which has revolutionised genetic engineering in medicine, agriculture and biotechnology.
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Difference Between CRISPR and New Gene Editing Technique

CRISPR relies on creating breaks in both DNA strands, utilizing other proteins for insertion, which can lead to errors. SeekRNA, however, can precisely cleave and insert new DNA sequences without requiring additional proteins, resulting in higher accuracy and fewer errors.

Advantages of SeekRNA

  • Higher Accuracy: SeekRNA can target and modify specific genetic sequences with greater precision, reducing the likelihood of off-target effects.
  • Stand-Alone Tool: Unlike CRISPR, seekRNA does not require extra components, making it simpler and more efficient.
  • Flexibility: SeekRNA’s ability to precisely target and relocate genetic sequences offers greater flexibility in gene editing applications.

Dr. Ataide elaborates:

“SeekRNA can precisely cleave the target site and insert the new DNA sequence without the use of any other proteins.

“This allows for a much cleaner editing tool with higher accuracy and fewer errors.”

What These Advancements in Gene Editing Technology Mean for the Future

Since the successful development of CRISPR 10 years ago, the technology has led to higher resistance to disease in fruit and crops, reduced cost and speed of disease detection in humans, and discovered a cure for sickle cell disease, as well as pathing the way for the development of a novel new cancer treatment called (CAR) T-cell therapy. Joint author Professor Ruth Hall from the University of Sydney, said:

“We are very much in the early days of what gene editing can do. We hope that by developing this new approach to gene editing, we can contribute to advances in health, agriculture and biotechnology,”

Innovating CRISPR To Make SeekRNA Gene Editing

How SeekRNA Performs Precise Genetic Targeting

Derived from naturally occurring insertion sequences IS1111 and IS110, SeekRNA exhibits high target specificity, whereas most insertion sequence proteins exhibit little or no target selectivity. This accuracy allows it to modify genomic sequences precisely.

With high target specificity SeekRNA can use the accuracy from this insertion sequence to modified any genomic sequence and thus transplant the new DNA in a precise orientation. Dr. Ataide notes, “In the laboratory, we have successfully tested seekRNA in bacteria. Our next steps will be to investigate its adaptation for complex eukaryotic cells found in humans.”

Direct DNA Insertion

SeekRNA advances the ability to insert DNA sequences precisely into the desired location autonomously, a feat not possible with previous tools. While other researchers explore the IS1111 and IS110 families’ potential, the Sydney team uses a more compact version, aiming to refine the technique through direct laboratory application of seekRNA

In conclusion, seekRNA represents a significant advancement in gene-editing technology, offering precision and flexibility beyond what CRISPR can achieve. Developed by Dr. Sandro Ataide and his team at the University of Sydney, this tool promises to revolutionize genetic engineering with its ability to perform accurate and autonomous DNA modifications. As researchers continue to explore its potential, seekRNA could lead to groundbreaking applications in health, agriculture, and biotechnology. This innovative approach marks a new era in gene editing, potentially transforming how we tackle genetic diseases and enhance biological research.

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