A group of researchers from Peking University in China came up with an invention called “Leaper,” which is a new gene-editing tool. They are confident human diseases can be defeated using this new technology which, in their belief, offers better results than CRISPR gene-editing tech.
How does this new gene-editing tool work?
“Leaper” is an abbreviation for “leveraging endogenous ADAR for programmable editing of RNA,” and it is similar to the CRISPR-Cas13. ‘Futurism’ reported that the CRISPR-Cas13 targets RNA molecules instead of DNA ones as the CRISPR-Cas9 does.
In order for the CRISPR-Cas13 to work, it needs Cas13 enzymes and a guide RNA so its RNA can get edited.
Compared to it, the “Leaper,” the new technology, only needs one component called ‘arRNA’ in order to work. The arRNA turns the system into a more easily deliverable one, and the chance to get unwanted cellular immune responses decreases, according to what the team told Chinese news outlet Caixin.
Further details into the new gene-editing tool revealed
The DNA is not directly changed by this technology. Instead, “Leaper” uses the native proteins, so heritable changes are not caused. Aside from that, the researcher Zhou Zhuo told The Global Times that it is also safe and precise simultaneously.
Some people suffering from the genetic disorder known as Hurler syndrome were part of the study in which their cells were subject to tests. Sufficient amounts of the mutated RNA of the cells could be corrected by the new Leaper system. This new gene-editing tool, according to Zhuo, can be used as a replacement for treatment.
However, these are still the early stages of the research, but animal tests will also be conducted by the team. With that being said, CRISPR remains the solution until the Leaper is developed enough to replace it.