For the first time, researchers have used a simplified technique derived from a defense mechanism evolved by bacteria and other single-celled organisms to successfully insert a large DNA sequence into a predetermined genomic site in mammalian cells.
The methods used may help investigators genetically engineer cells to produce high levels of certain proteins--for example by placing the DNA sequence of a particular protein at the site of a highly active gene.
"The CRISPR-Cas system has been previously used to insert a foreign DNA sequence into a targeted genomic site in mammalian cells via a process of recombination. Here we showed that the insertion could be performed using a simplified end joining process," said Dr. Lawrence Chasin, senior author of the Biotechnology and Bioengineering study. "This simplification may prove especially useful for high throughput targeting approaches."