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Scientists at MIT’s McGovern Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have discovered a new class of programmable DNA-modifying systems called OMEGAs (Obligate Mobile Element Guided Activity), which could move small bits of DNA throughout bacterial genomes. A new editing enzyme among a family of proteins called IscB is a potential ancestor of Cas9. IscBs were the first proteins in an OMEGA system. In nature, these genes might be performing a wide variety of functions that scientists are only starting to understand; inside a lab, this opens a host of new possibilities to adapt biology for different tasks. Think of OMEGAs as accelerators for the next generation of genome-editing tools.

Programmable gene-editing proteins

KEY TRENDS

CRISPR: Gene Editing at Scale