MBL senior scientist Joshua Rosenthal talks CRISPR, RNA editing, and cephalopods with Nature News.
By Sara Reardon
Making changes to the molecular messengers that create proteins might offer flexible therapies for cancer, pain or high cholesterol, in addition to genetic disorders.
Thorsten Stafforst found his big break at the worst possible time. In 2012, his team at the University of Tübingen in Germany discovered that by linking enzymes to engineered strands of RNA, they could change the sequences of messenger RNA molecules in cells. In essence, they could rewrite the genome’s instructions en route to making proteins.
The process could theoretically serve to treat numerous diseases, both ones with genetic underpinnings and those that would benefit from a change in the amount or type of a protein being produced. But Stafforst had a lot of trouble getting the discovery published — it was simply not interesting any more. His finding1 was overshadowed by the discovery a few months earlier that the DNA-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 could be used to permanently alter the genome. Read more…