The new technique is called “prime editing,” and was developed by researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who published their findings Monday in the journal Nature.
Prime editing builds on powerful CRISPR gene editing, but is more precise and versatile — it “directly writes new genetic information into a specified DNA site,” according to the paper.
In the traditional CRISPR-Cas9 approach, Cas9, a type of modified protein, acts like a pair of scissors that can snip parts of DNA strands. It can target genes in a specific location — for instance, to disrupt a mutation.
About two-thirds of known human genetic variants associated with diseases are single point gene mutations, so gene editing has the potential to correct or reproduce such mutations.