Researchers develop gene editing method that may alter microbiome makeup – Gadgets Now

Posted: October 6, 2019 at 11:41 pm

Researchers have developed a new method to use the gene editing tool, CRISPR, to target specific bacteria and kill them -- an advance that may lead to new techniques for treating bacterial infections, and for customising the gut microbe composition of individuals. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, increases the possibility of using CRISPR technology to alter the makeup of the human microbiome -- the community of microbes that live in and on us -- in a way that could be personalized for each individual.

The researchers from the University of Western Ontario in Canada said that CRISPR could be programmed to target specific stretches of genetic code, and to edit DNA at precise locations, helping researchers permanently modify genes in living cells and organisms, and also to kill bacteria.

But until now, the researchers said that there wasn't a way to efficiently kill specific bacterial strains.

While the idea of using CRISPR to kill cells and organisms is not new, the researchers noted that the main hurdle was in getting the gene editing tool to target specific cells.

"This technology could also be used to help 'good' bacteria produce compounds to treat diseases caused by protein deficiencies," Karas said.

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Researchers develop gene editing method that may alter microbiome makeup - Gadgets Now

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