Researchers Create CRISPR ‘On-Off Switch’ to Control Inherited Genetic Problems Without Changing DNA

Scientists have figured out how to modify the unrivaled gene-editing tool CRISPR to extend its reach to the epigenome, which controls how genes are switched on or off.

The researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and MIT’s non-profit Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and have already used the tool in the lab to mostly deactivate the gene that makes the protein Tau, which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

The novel CRISPR-based tool called “CRISPRoff” allows scientists to switch off almost any gene in human cells without making a single edit to the genetic code—and once a gene is switched off, it remains inert in the cell’s descendants for hundreds of generations, unless it is…

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