A Guide To Next-Generation Diagnostics Using CRISPR

Next-generation sequencing and other genetic engineering technologies are making waves in the biotech industry. Product development companies must pay close attention to these innovations and the opportunities they provide to stay on top of the latest medical trends. As genetic engineering expands into new territories, new technologies, practices, and solutions arise. The rising use of CRISPR in the field of diagnostics presents a significant example of this. This emerging technology has scientists and researchers pursuing new theories and opportunities in gene editing and diagnostics development. Learn more about CRISPR and its potential with this guide to next-generation diagnostics using CRISPR.

An Overview of CRISPR and Cas9

Clusters of regularly interspaced palindromic repeats, or CRISPR, are specialized regions of DNA that include nucleotide repeats and spacers. These sequences exist in the genomes of bacteria and other prokaryotic organisms. CRISPR develop in response to viruses that previously infected the bacteria. These sequences can then recognize the virus DNA during future infections. With this knowledge, the Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) enzyme cuts specific strands of DNA, altering a cell’s genome and foiling attacks from viruses and other infectious organisms.

Scientists and researchers have found massive potential in these natural defenses of bacteria and archaea, particularly in the field of genome editing. Scientists developed CRISPR-Cas9 technology to mimic the way CRISPR and associated proteins manipulate genes within organisms. This growing technology presents a wide range of potential applications in biological research, genetic modification, and more. However, one of the most intriguing opportunities revolves around next-generation diagnostics using CRISPR.

CRISPR-Cas9 and In-Vitro Diagnostics

CRISPR-Cas9 has a particular influence over the identification, study, and treatment of diseases. The technology’s ability to target specific nucleic acid sequences, create single-strand DNA nicks, and amplify certain gene sequences makes it a fascinating point of interest throughout the field of diagnostics. In experiments with the Zika virus, scientists used an isothermal amplification technique alongside CRISPR-Cas9 technology to distinguish between closely related viral strains. This allows epidemiologists to track mutations and other viral strains that emerge. Other potential applications of CRISPR-Cas9 technology include the ability to target virulence factors, bacteria that develop an antibiotic resistance, and other relevant sequences that create barriers to widespread treatment and immunity.

As the field of genetic engineering expands, scientists continue to explore the abilities of CRISPR-based technologies. The speedy, ultra-sensitive diagnostic capabilities demonstrate great potential as knowledge of this process grows. At Gener8, we pay close attention to this and other emerging trends as we work to further the field of diagnostics and life sciences device commercialization in this important field.

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