New CRISPR editing technology targets antibiotic resistance plasmids

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Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (CA, USA) have developed a new CRISPR–Cas9 editing system called ‘pro-active’ genetic system, or Pro-AG. The system can disrupt antibiotic resistance genes via a cut-and-insert repair mechanism, which is self-amplifying and highly efficient.

The study, detailed in Nature Communications, demonstrates how the pro-AG system is more efficient than cut-and-destroy-based editing systems. Importantly, the pro-AG system can edit plasmids, and could therefore reduce transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between bacteria.

These findings were discovered by implementing the pro-AG system in an experimental culture that contained high numbers of plasmids carrying ampicillin resistance genes. The system reduced gene activity by precisely inserting genetic payloads into the resistance genes.

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