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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Genome-editing proteins ride a DNA zip line

For gene-editing proteins to be useful in clinical applications, they need to be able to find the specific site they’re supposed to edit among billions of DNA sequences. Using advanced imaging techniques, University of Illinois researchers have found that one class of genome-editing proteins rapidly travels along a strand of DNA like a rider on a zip line – a unique behavior among documented DNA-binding proteins.

Genome-editing Proteins Seek and Find with a Slide and a Hop

Genome-editing Proteins Seek and Find with a Slide and a Hop

Searching a whole genome for one particular sequence is like trying to fish a specific piece from the box of a billion-piece puzzle. Using advanced imaging techniques, University of Illinois researchers have observed how one set of genome-editing proteins finds its specific targets, which could help them design better gene therapies to treat disease.

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