The CRISPR/Cas9 technique, an abbreviation for clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats, is a newly published biomedical technique that works to cut and repair DNA at the site of an infection. Advancements in research could be used to adjust human genes to eliminate diseases and disease-causing mutations, create more robust plants, and wipe out pathogens, among other things.
Although there have been significant advancements and increasing open-source availability of gene editing technology, there is still additional work needed to understand how this technology can be used in various genes and cell types.
At Sandia, we are working to propose developing an algorithm that will prioritizes the targeting of various genes across different cell types using CRISPR/Cas9. A model for efficiency prediction would be based on a number of variables to determine accessibility and function of the gene, specifically considering:
Will altering the expression of the gene likely affect function?
Is the gene currently expressed and at what level?
Is the surrounding chromatin accessible?
This algorithm would utilize artificial intelligence versus current standard methods for gene editing/modulation efficiency which currently produces individual constructs one-by-one (expensive and labor intensive).
This work will provide a novel method for prioritizing target genes as a model for uncovering the efficiency of gene editing, both in vitro and in vivo. This could propel gene editing technology towards realizing application in the healthcare industry, as well as developing ways to protect against editing for detrimental uses.