A different horse in the race

How modified peptide nucleic acids could be new in vivo gene editing tools

The nucleases at the heart of gene editing systems such as CRISPR, TALENs and zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) are key to the methods’ strength, forming a fundamental part of the blocking IP. A group at Yale University has developed an alternative technique based on peptide nucleic acids that requires no DNA-cutting enzyme and might have advantages over the other methods for in vivo applications.

While the enzymes differ between CRISPR, TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases) and ZFNs, they are all responsible for one of the methods’ key vulnerabilities: the risk of cutting the DNA at incorrect locations.

In addition, the large size of the enzymes creates a challenge for in vivo applications, in which delivery vehicles such as viral vectors can only carry a limited amount of material.

Last month, a group led by Yale’s Peter Glazer published a study in Nature Communications demonstrating peptide nucleic acids can form triplexes with target DNA, accurately edit the

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