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New Gene Editing tool: Crispr-Cpf1

new paper  published this week describes another bacteria associated system for gene editing, the CrispR-Cpf1 system.

As I've been covering this space for over a decade now and predicted in 2009 that gene editing would soon be a major innovation of the next 10 years you should be familiar with the progenitor systems discovered since that time. Zinc fingers, TALENS, AAV and CrispR-Cas9 via various articles of mine over the years.

Cpf1 appears to have complementary functionality to Cas9 but performs some things that Cas9 does not, allowing it possibly to be more "specific" in its ability to accurately target edits. Some of these advantages are indicated in the paper but this article is more about the fact that find new systems should be an expectation.

From an evolutionary perspective the fact that living processes under go cycles of change and growth requires that at some point they have detailed and accurate abilities to edit genetic information in various ways...either to repair faulty regions or to silence regions in order for engaging developmental change over time. So though there are several discovered systems at this moment in time there may be many more yet to be discovered with novel abilities to specify edits...this will mean that the coming age of gene editing will consist of harnessing these variably effective tools to perform desired in vivo modifications.

This is a good thing as with the discovery of these early systems patent battles have erupted between researchers which have the chance of marring wide application of some systems by gene hackers....this would be bad for Cosmecuticals which I've explained is a net good for humanity over time if we guide their development.

So more systems means more potentially patent free ways to make edits which liberates creativity in the type of edits and who can perform them. There is still much to be concerned about however as this technology has the power to make monsters (literally) but better to have this power working in the light rather than in the shadow.


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