Breakthrough as Gene-Editing Technique Restores Sight to Blind Animals

November 17, 2016

(The Guardian) – Blind animals have had their vision partially restored using a revolutionary DNA editing technique that scientists say could in future be applied to a range of devastating genetic diseases. The study is the first to demonstrate that a gene editing tool, called Crispr, can be used to replace faulty genes with working versions in the cells of adults – in this case adult rats. Previously, the powerful procedure, in which strands of DNA are snipped out and replaced, had been used only in dividing cells – such as those in an embryo – and scientists had struggled to apply it to non-dividing cells that make up most adult tissue, including the brain, heart, kidneys and liver.