Rice University scientists have studied and improved a small CRISPR-Cas13 system that can edit RNA. CRISPR technology is used to edit genetic material like RNA and DNA. The researchers used a cryo-electron microscope to examine the structure of the CRISPR system and discovered that it works differently from other proteins in the same family. This particular CRISPR system, called CRISPR-Cas13bt3, is smaller than others, which is an advantage because it allows for better access and delivery to editing sites. Unlike other CRISPR systems that target DNA, this system targets RNA, which is used to translate genetic information into proteins. The researchers hope that this RNA-targeting system can be used to fight viruses. They created a detailed model of the system’s three-dimensional structure to understand its mechanism. They also engineered the system to increase its precision and tested it in living cells, where it was able to target the desired RNA with high accuracy. The research was supported by various funding sources.
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