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New Gene Editing Technology
News: The proposal for Indian regulators to consider a new gene editing technique has been pending with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee for almost two years.
What is Gene Editing?
• Genome editing (also called gene editing) is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism's Deoxy-Ribonucleic Acid (DNA).
• These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome.
• The core technologies now most commonly used to facilitate genome editing are
• Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)- associated protein 9 (Cas9)
• Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs)
• Zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs)
• Homing endonucleases or meganucleases
• The Institute has now moved to newer technologies such as SiteDirected Nuclease (SDN) 1 and 2.
• They aim to bring precision and efficiency into the breeding process using gene-editing tools such as CRISPR, whose developers won the Nobel Prize for What is Non-Transgenic Gene Editing?
• Unlike the older GM technology which involves the introduction of foreign DNA, the new proposal involves the use of gene editing tools to directly tweak the plant’s own genes instead.
• It does not involve inserting any foreign DNA.
• Scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) are in the process of developing resilient and high-yield rice varieties using such gene editing techniques.
• However, this proposal has been pending with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) for almost two years.
• But in this case, this protein is right there in the plant, and is being changed a little bit, just as nature does through mutation.It is much faster and far more precise than natural mutation or conventional breeding methods which involve trial and error and multiple breeding cycles.When a protein comes from an outside organism, then you need to test for safety.It is potentially a new Green Revolution.
• The SDN 1 and SDN 2 categories of genome-edited plants do not contain any foreign DNA when they are taken to the open field trials.The US, Canada, Australia and Japan are among the countries which have already approved the SDN 1 and 2 technologies as not akin to GM.So, such varieties of rice can be exported without any problem.The European Food Safety Authority has also submitted its opinion that these technologies do not need the same level of safety assessment as conventional GM.
• CRISPR-Cas9 was adapted from a naturally occurring genome editing system in bacteria.
• The bacteria capture snippets of DNA from invading viruses and use them to create DNA segments known as CRISPR arrays.The CRISPR arrays allow the bacteria to “remember” the viruses (or closely related ones).
• If the viruses attack again, the bacteria produce RNA segments from the CRISPR arrays to target the viruses’ DNA.The bacteria then use Cas9 or a similar enzyme to cut the virus DNA apart, which disables the virus.
• This method is faster, cheaper, more accurate, and more efficient than other existing genome editing methods.