Caribou Biosciences has discovered patterns in the way different cell types respond to being cut via CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Its researchers published a paper earlier this month in Molecular Cell that detailed DNA repair profiles after cuts at 223 different sites in the human genome.
The scientists found that after cleavage via Cas9, an RNA-guided DNA endonuclease enzyme, the cells repaired themselves in “highly reproducible patterns” that were “consistent across experimental replicates, cell lines, and reagent delivery methods.”
They found that repair outcomes are determined by the target site sequence, rather than genomic context. Researchers expect that these non-random outcomes could be reproduced systematically to produce a gene knockout or the restoration of a disease-causing allele.
“This discovery represents a fundamental advance in the development of CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Through careful measurement of the outcomes of the DNA repair machinery, we can understand the specific patterns of editing that occur within a cell population with a high degree of certainty,” Caribou CSO Andrew May said in a statement.
He continued, “Our world class scientific team continues to make significant contributions to develop the potential of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology.”
The research is expected to enable scientists to use standard cell lines in the expectation that those results can be applied to more challenging, related cell types--including in human primary cells, which are derived directly from living tissue.
The Berkeley, CA-based startup is based on research from the Doudna Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. It aims to offer tools and tech not only for drug development, but also for agricultural and industrial biotech as well as biological research.
Caribou just raised a $30 million Series B financing in May from investors including Anterra Capital, Heritage Group, Maverick Capital Ventures, Pontifax AgTech, F-Prime Capital Partners, Novartis ($NVS), Mission Bay Capital and 5 Prime Ventures.
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