New CRISPR technology offers unrivaled control of epigenetic inheritance — ScienceDaily


Scientists have figured out how to modify CRISPR’s basic architecture to extend its reach beyond the genome and into what’s known as the epigenome — proteins and small molecules that latch onto DNA and control when and where genes are switched on or off.

In a paper published April 9, 2021, in the journal Cell, researchers at UC San Francisco and the Whitehead Institute describe a novel CRISPR-based tool called “CRISPRoff,” which allows scientists to switch off almost any gene in human cells without making a single edit to the genetic code. The researchers also show that once a gene is switched off, it remains inert in the cell’s descendants for hundreds of generations, unless it is switched back on with a complementary tool called CRISPRon, also described in the paper.

Because the epigenome plays a central role in many diseases, from viral infection to cancer, CRISPRoff technology…

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