CRISPR engineered viruses could render other viruses harmless

Michael Le Page,  New Scientist,  2023.

A virus genetically engineered to spread its DNA to other viruses via CRISPR gene editing has done exactly that in tests in mice. The hope is that these viruses could alter others, such as herpes, in a way that prevents them from causing symptoms. “It’s a new technology,” says team member Marius Walter at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington. “Can we bring it to people? That’s a long way ahead, we have a lot of work to do, but I think this is an exciting technology.” This approach is known as a gene drive, when a bit of selfish DNA somehow manages to get passed down to a higher proportion of offspring than normal. This means gene drives can spread through a population even if they are disadvantageous.

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