Scientists use CRISPR to turn genes on without editing their DNA

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The revolutionary gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 is best-known for helping scientists edit a strand of DNA more precisely and efficiently than ever before.

Now, researchers have demonstrated another use for the CRISPR complex: changing what genes are expressed without altering the genome itself.

For the first time, researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego were able to use CRISPR to activate beneficial genes in live mice suffering from muscular dystrophy, Type 1 diabetes and acute kidney injury.

In more than 50% of test cases, the animal’s health improved following the CRISPR intervention, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Cell.

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