Crop Biotech Update

Chinese Scientists Develop New Gene Editing Tool

September 13, 2023

A team of scientists in Beijing have developed a new gene editing tool called CyDENT. The tool is more efficient than CRISPR technology and can be used to edit DNA in mitochondria and chloroplasts.

CyDENT is a protein-based tool that does not rely on a guide RNA. Instead, it uses a protein signal to transport the editor inside the cell, bypassing the need for a guide RNA. This makes CyDENT more efficient than CRISPR-Cas9, especially for editing DNA in mitochondria and chloroplasts.

CyDENT works by first binding to the target DNA sequence with the transcription-activator-like effector (TALEs). The FokI nickase then cuts the DNA at that location, creating a single-stranded DNA substrate. The single-strand-specific cytidine deaminase then converts the cytidines in the single-stranded DNA to uracils. The uracils are then recognized by the cell's DNA repair machinery, which replaces them with cytosines. This process is called base editing.

This new tool could lead to new therapies for diseases caused by mitochondrial DNA mutations and it could also be used to engineer crops with higher yields.

Read more from Nature and South China Morning Post.

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