All people who are interested in science, probably already heard about the editor of the genome CRISPR. It has already been used repeatedly to introduce changes in the genetic code and in a number of other similar experiments. However, according to the publication Engadget, a group of scientists led by Dr. Jennifer Dudney found an unexpected application of the known technology. They managed to use CRISPR as a diagnostic tool.
Immediately it is worth noting that, as a rule, when talking about editing the genome, it means using CRISPR-Cas9. Scientists have used CRISPR-Cas12a technology in their work, which differs in that it additionally cuts single-stranded DNA located next to the site under study. This feature was used to detect two types of human papillomavirus virus that are responsible for the development of certain cancers.
The new system is called DETECTR, and it works as follows: when CRISPR-Cas12a finds a region of virally altered DNA in an infected cell, it cuts out a nucleic acid fragment with a fluorescent label along with it. The emitted glow can be fixed, and thanks to this it is possible to see the presence of the virus in the cell. According to the authors of the technology, the accuracy of detection of infected RNA is 92-100%. In addition, another group of scientists, led by Dr. Feng Zhang, was able to similarly adapt the use of CRISPR (namely versions Cas13 and Csm6) to identify oncogenic mutations, the viruses of Zeke and Dengue in the test blood sample.