Aug 13, 2016

Directly reprogramming a cell’s identity with gene editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Researchers have used CRISPR—a revolutionary new genetic engineering technique—to convert cells isolated from mouse connective tissue directly into neuronal cells.

In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences at Kyoto University at the time, discovered how to revert adult , called fibroblasts, back into immature stem cells that could differentiate into any cell type. These so-called induced won Yamanaka the Nobel Prize in medicine just six years later for their promise in research and medicine.

Since then, researchers have discovered other ways to convert cells between different types. This is mostly done by introducing many of “master switch” genes that produce proteins that turn on entire genetic networks responsible for producing a particular cell type.

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