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Enhancing Cas9 Gene Editing Efficiency: A Breakthrough in Genetic Therapy

Enhancing Cas9 Gene Editing Efficiency: A Breakthrough in Genetic Therapy

Kai Chen, an alumnus of Zhejiang University and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, is currently conducting postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. He collaborates with his advisor, Jennifer Doudna, focusing on the improvement of the CRISPR gene editor. Their research has revealed the key to enhancing the efficiency of the Cas9 protein—the modification of the wedge domain.

The CRISPR system, composed of guide RNA and Cas proteins, is widely used in gene editing. However, the enhancement of Cas9 efficiency has been a challenge. Chen Kai has significantly improved the editing efficiency by modifying the GeoCas9 protein through directed evolution strategies.

Their findings indicate that amino acid mutations in the wedge domain can strengthen the binding of Cas9 to DNA and expand the recognition range. This strategy is not only applicable to GeoCas9 but can also be extended to other Cas9 proteins, with efficiency improvements of over a hundredfold.

Chen Kai's research not only changes our understanding of the structural function of Cas9 proteins but also provides a new pathway for developing more efficient gene editing tools. His work combines theory and application, showcasing the depth and breadth of scientific research.

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