If the original CRISPR mechanism is like a pair of miniscule scissors cutting up a sentence of the DNA code, “you can think of prime editors to be like word processors, capable of searching for precise DNA sequences and replacing them,” says David Liu, the chemical biologist at the Broad Institute and Harvard University who led the research. Where the familiar CRISPR technique fully cleaves a strand of DNA in two, often creating some tiny, inadvertent genetic changes as byproducts, prime editing begins by slicing just one of the two strands of the double helix. The method is sleeker, less invasive, and offers the potential for precision genetic editing.
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