Prashant Mali, Raj Chari and team, have developed a new user-friendly resource to accompany the powerful gene editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9, which has been widely adopted in the scientific community to make precise, targeted changes in DNA. CRISPR/Cas9 is a relatively new genome engineering tool that can target a particular segment of DNA in living cells — such as a gene mutation — and replace it with a genetic sequence.
“We’ve taken a step towards making the CRISPR/Cas9 system more robust,” said Prashant Mali in a UCSD press release. Mali serves an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and is co-first author of the study.
“The end product is an interactive software for users to find guide RNAs that are predicted to be highly specific and highly active for their gene targets,” said Raj Chari, a research fellow working in the lab of Professor George Church in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and a co-first author of the study.
This breakthrough has the potential to facilitate new discoveries in gene therapies and basic genetics research.