Monday, September 23, 2013

TALENs: A Widely Applicable Technology for Targeted Genome Editing

TALENs, or transcription activator-like effector nucleases, offer a new and efficient way to modify any gene sequences of interest that occur in living cells and organisms. TALENs are engineered nucleases that cleave DNA, alter the nucleotide sequence at the cleave site, and repair the cleave. The engineered nucleases are made up of proteins that can be customized to bind to a sequence-specific DNA-binding domain (a protein domain that recognizes DNA) that are fused to a nuclease that cleaves the DNA. This creates double-strand breaks on specific sites that are repaired by mechanisms that can be exploited to create sequence alterations. This is a new and much easier method for targeted genome editing, which has large implications for biological research as well as possibly holding strategies for combating genetic diseases.

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