Navigation Links
Consortium develops new method to manipulate genetic material

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (July 24, 2008) A multi-institutional team of researchers, including scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School, have developed a powerful tool for genomic research and medicine. The robust method will allow researchers to generate synthetic enzymes that can target and manipulate DNA sequences for inactivation or repair.

The potential for discovery is great, said Dan Voytas, Ph.D., director of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Transposon Research, and co-investigator on the research. In human therapeutics, researchers may aim to correct genetic disorders or diseases, and in plants, scientists may devise crops that are more resistant to pathogens, yield more product, and better combat stress.

In the July 25 issue of Molecular Cell, researchers including Voytas describe an efficient method to induce specific genomic modifications in many types of cells including plants and humans. This is the first time the method will be publicly available and free to researchers.

"This method is going to be a turning point in the way we manipulate genomes," Voytas said. "It will allow any researcher to make a change to genetic material."

More specifically, the article shows researchers how to engineer customized zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), which can be used to induce specific genomic modifications in many types of cells.

"Recent work has shown that ZFNs can alter genes with high efficiency in cells from plants or model organisms like fruit flies, roundworms, and zebra fish, and in human cells," said J. Keith Joung, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Molecular Pathology Unit at MGH, principal investigator of the study. "Our method will enable academic researchers to rapidly create high quality ZFNs for genes of interest and will stimulate use of this technology in biological research and potentially gene therapy."

Currently available methods for generating ZFNs are either inefficient or exceed the capabilities of all but a handful of laboratories in the world.

Morgan L. Maeder of the Joung lab led an effort by researchers from six institutions that demonstrated how this new method (termed OPEN, for Oligomerized Pool ENgineering) can rapidly generate ZFNs that induce alterations at sites in three biologically important human genes and a plant gene. ZFNs made by the new OPEN method which utilizes a new archive of reagents that will be made publicly available by the Zinc Finger Consortium were so efficient that they could modify as many as four copies of a gene in human cells and two copies in plant cells.

"Our study provides the first evidence that ZFNs can make specific changes in plant genes with high efficiency and opens a new avenue for plant genetic modification," Voytas said. At the University of Minnesota, Voytas and his team are interested in modifying plant genes for crop improvement.

"With the development of OPEN, many more academic labs will be able to construct, test and use ZFNs in their biological research projects," Joung said. "OPEN should also stimulate additional research into the potential application of ZFNs for gene therapy of single-gene disorders, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis."


Contact: Nick Hanson
University of Minnesota

Related biology news :

1. NIH expands national consortium dedicated to transforming clinical and translational research
2. Midlands Consortium delighted to be chosen to host £1 billion energy institute
3. Hebrew University develops novel approach for treating mitochondrial disorders
4. Engineer develops detergent to promote peripheral nerve healing
5. Taking a cue from breath fresheners, researcher develops new method for taste testing
6. Carnegie Mellon develops computer model to study cell membrane dynamics
7. Queens develops safe green decontamination method
8. Europe develops new technologies to boost health of livestock
9. Scientists discover how TB develops invincibility against only available treatment
10. U of I researcher develops power-packed soy breakfast cereal
11. MBL develops infrastructure and portal for Encyclopedia of Life
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has ... to provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer ... SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support ... of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter ... titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options ... of Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology ... --> --> ... has the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., ... U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation products, ... Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has ... preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis ... and prognostic applications in cancer and other conditions. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: ... 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 pre-share consolidation) Series ... Warrants") subject to the previously disclosed November 1, ... which will result in the issuance of 365,518 ... issuance of such shares, there will be approximately ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, ... 3D cell culture models, has promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. ... Aregger served on the management team and was promoted to Head of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ANGELES , Nov. 24, 2015 ... biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization ... , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, is scheduled to present ... 1, 2015 at 10:50 a.m. EST, at The Lotte ... City . . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: