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