Prime editing: Here’s what you need to know to sound like you know what you’re talking about
What is prime editing?
Prime editing is a potentially significant update to CRISPR gene editing which serves as a “search-and-replace” editor for the human genome. Using prime editing, it is possible to directly write new genetic information into a specific DNA site. Anzalone et al. (2019) used it to edit human cells through targeted insertions and deletions to efficiently correct the primary genetic causes of sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease.
Does it really work?
Currently, prime editing is still in the lab stage and has only been tested in cultured cells. “Although many enhancements still need to be made, prime editing using pegRNA greatly increases the possibilities of future genome editing work,” noted one analyst from IDT.
What are some genetic diseases?
A partial list of genetic diseases includes:
- Angelman syndrome
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Down syndrome
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Huntington’s disease
- Rett syndrome
- Tay-Sachs disease
- Tourette syndrome
- Williams syndrome
How will it change the world?
Treatment for genetic diseases will become much more accurate. Prime editing should be able to make larger changes to DNA and do so more accurately than current technology.
Who will use it?
Genetic engineers treating people with genetic diseases who have access to state-of-the-art medical facilities and a lot of money in the event that the likely sky-high prices do not fall.