April 10 (UPI) -- In recent years, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has brought with it new hope in the field of gene editing.
Now, researchers have built in those advances, developing a CRISPR-based tool able to delete long strands of DNA with sharp accuracy, according to a study published Monday in Molecular Cell.
The new tool, called Type I CRISPR-Cas3, uses riboprotein complex in bacteria known as Cascade to pinpoint a DNA target and Cas3 finally shreds.
"But Cas3 goes where you want it, travels along the chromosome, and makes a spectrum of deletions tens of kilobases long," Yan Zhang, a researcher at University of Michigan and study lead author, said in a news release. "This could make it a powerful screening tool to determine what large areas of DNA are most important for a particular disease."
"Cas9 is a molecular scissor that goes where you want it and snips once," Zhang said.
The researchers say the CRISPR-Cas3 could help them to study long stretches of DNA that don't contain code to see what effect the shredder has.
Since the Cas3 is guided by RNA for target precision, the researchers think it may be less likely to mistakenly cut DNA. Ultimately, they hope this discovery opens the door for new research in gene editing.