Researchers unlock potential to use CRISPR to alter the microbiome

Phys.org | October 04, 2019

Researchers at Western University have developed a new way to deliver the DNA-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 into microorganisms in the lab, providing a way to efficiently launch a targeted attack on specific bacteria. Published today in Nature Communications, this study opens up the possibility of using CRISPR to alter the makeup of the human microbiome in a way that could be personalized and specific from person to person. It also presents a potential alternative to traditional antibiotics to kill bacteria like Staphyloccous aureus (Staph A) or Escherichia coli (E. coli). "One of the major reasons that I am excited about this work is that it has a wide range of possible real-world applications," said Bogumil Karas, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "It has the potential for development of next generation antimicrobial agents that would be effective even for bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics. This technology could also be used to help 'good' bacteria produce compounds to treat diseases caused by protein deficiencies."

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Find out more about scientific outreach the Biotechnology & Bioengineering Center conducts in Milwaukee-area schools

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Find out more about scientific outreach the Biotechnology & Bioengineering Center conducts in Milwaukee-area schools

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