How to edit any gene.

University of Arizona
Chandler, Arizona
BiologyMedicine
DOI: 10.18258/2852
$350
Raised
100%
Funded on 10/11/14
Successfully Funded
  • $350
    pledged
  • 100%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 10/11/14

About This Project

Imagine being able to edit any gene—from Alzheimer's and cancer to eye color and balding. Today, that is almost possible, with gene scissors: we simply cut out the original gene, then paste the new one.
The Problem: We can cut genes, but only hope they get pasted.
The Solution: Gene glue for gene scissors.

Ask the Scientists

Join The Discussion

What is the context of this research?

Gene scissors, otherwise known as engineered nucleases, are used to cut custom genes of interest (GOI). However, they rely upon natural DNA repair mechanisms to paste in the genes. This can produce any one of three results:

  1. Original gene gets pasted in (no gene targeting).
  2. No gene gets pasted in (potentially toxic gene deletion).
  3. New gene gets pasted in (successful gene targeting).
Unfortunately, #3 is the least frequent result: gene scissors rarely work.


What is the significance of this project?

Gene scissors enable us to cut a gene. Gene glue will enable us to paste a new gene.

Gene scissors were based on restriction enzymes. Gene glue will be based on ligases.

Gene scissors recognize the original gene. Gene glue will recognize the new gene.

We will be able to efficiently edit any gene.

What are the goals of the project?

Broadly speaking, we will create the first gene glue—formally referred to as a site-specific ligase.

  1. Select and verify an appropriate ligase as a template for engineering the first "gene glue."
  2. Test gene glue in vitro (in a test tube) with restriction enzymes.
  3. Test gene glue in a bacterium with gene scissors.

Budget

Please wait...

Editing any gene sounds rather broad, but the possibilities are boundless. Given the ability to edit any gene, here's just a small list of the things we could do:

  • Cure HIV/AIDs.
  • Eradicate all cancers.
  • Create new species (GMOs, but better).
  • Reverse Alzheimer's.
  • Inactivate any virus.
  • Prevent balding.
Each of the items in the budget is one experiment necessary to verify that ligases work. Assuming they do, it is key that we move this technology forward as quickly as possible: there are lives we can save.

Meet the Team

Viputheshwar Sitaraman
Viputheshwar Sitaraman

Team Bio

I've been obsessed with gene/genome editing since I watched the movie GATTACA in my high school biology class. I've been raised to be an indie scientist: the first lab I was hosted in researched ocean cyanobacteria...while I did my work on zinc finger nucleases in a little fume hood in the far back of the lab. This time, I've got 4-5 different labs (with potential advisors/mentors) offering to host me, on the condition that I find funding so I turned to Experiment.com.

When I'm not craning into a hood or a laptop, I'm working on the other things I like to do: I'm a graphic designer, singer/songwriter, occasional distance-runner, science communication reform advocate and dinosaur rights activist (just kidding).

The thing I love the most is working on my website/blog, Draw Science; I take science articles from big journals, and turn them into infographics so the public get's to see real research.

Viputheshwar Sitaraman

Innovation starts with little people with big ideas.

Additional Information

....................................
...............................................................Labbooks, selfies, and posters #research...............................................................

Project Backers

  • 13Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $350Total Donations
  • $26.92Average Donation
Please wait...