Most of the more than 50 000 genetic changes currently associated with human diseases are point mutations, the swap of one DNA base pair for another. Now, researchers at Harvard University and the Broad Institute have developed a genome editing technology called base editing that changes one DNA base pair to another, potentially allowing for curative point mutation corrections.
Writing in Nature in October, the researchers described adenine base editors that efficiently converted target A · T base pairs to G · C pairs in bacteria and human cells with almost no undesired or unintended modifications. The same team first introduced base editing last year with a technique that switches C · G base pairs into T · A pairs.
Abbasi J. DNA Base Editing Could Reverse Most Disease-Causing Point Mutations. JAMA. 2017;318(22):2173. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19063