Scientists develop 'DNA scissor' that avoids mutations

Korean scientists succeeded in cutting a damaged strand of DNA with engineered nuclease technology, or a "molecular scissors," without generating mutation.

The progress in gene editing is expected to help increase the effectiveness of gene therapy which in most cases fails to achieve intended results, said Kim Jin-soo, a chemistry professor at Seoul National University, who led the research.

His team was able to prevent mutation with a new DNA-cutting enzyme that cuts only one DNA strand entwined with another strand.

So far, engineered nuclease technology has cut both strands or acted at an unintended spot, which eventually caused mutation.

"The engineered nuclease technology is a new method that draws attention from scientists as it can regenerate DNA sequence and restore reversed DNA. I expect the new method could be potentially used to cure incurable diseases such as AIDS and hemophilia," said Kim.

DNA segments carrying genetic information are cut or rearranged due to radiation and other causes. It is usually a cause of incurable disease if a damaged part is not recovered.

The research findings are published in the online version of Genome Research, a renowned journal on genetics.

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