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OMEGA, a new powerful gene-editing system similar to CRISPR or so much better


Key points from article :

The CRISPR gene-editing system is built on a bacterial defense mechanism that allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA.

Scientists discovered a new class of enzymes that perform a similar function and perhaps better in some respects.

Named the system Obligate Mobile Element Guided Activity (OMEGA).

Found RNAs which guided the IscB proteins to cut DNA in certain places; named these “ωRNAs” (Omega RNAs).

Identified two other types of proteins that make use of ωRNAs – IsrBs and TnpBs.

These proteins move around in the genome and ​create a new guide RNA, which lets the enzymes cut different sections of DNA.

Engineered the OMEGA system to work in human cells...could form a brand new gene-editing system.

These proteins seem to be the predecessors of some CRISPR ones, such as Cas9 and Cas12.

“Natural versions of these systems might be a good starting point to adapt for that particular task.” - Han Altae-Tran, co-first author.

Research by at MIT published in the journal Science.

Potential RNA-guiding enzymes that are capable of editing and modifying DNA in human cells

Mentioned in this article:

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Han Altae-Tran

PhD graduate in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Private land-grant research university


Peer-reviewed academic online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)