Global Technology - December 2020

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What new technologies will dramatically transform your world? We’ll present an exclusive preview of the stunning breakthroughs emerging from the world’s leading research labs. 

As described recently in Nature Communications, Michigan Medicine researchers have developed a new variant of the much-touted tool CRISPR-Cas9, which improves both safety and effectiveness when editing DNA.

Today, safety and efficacy continue to hold CRISPR-Cas9 gene targeting back from its full clinical potential.

The new CRISPR-Cas9 variant improves efficiency when inserting a gene or DNA fragment to a precise location in the genome, known as “knocking in.”  It also reduces the rate of unintended insertions or deletions of base pairs, known as “indels,” that often happen while gene editing.

The new variant is called “meticulous integration Cas9,” or miCas9, to reflect its extraordinary capacity to enable maximum integration and create minimal indels.

The team previously reported discoveries about Cas9 genome editing techniques in 2014 and they reported beneficial effects of a RAD51 agonist, called RS-1, in gene editing in 2016.

References

Nature Communications, November 2020, “MiCas9 Increases Large Size Gene Knock-in Rates and Reduces Undesirable On-target and Off-target Indel Edits,” by Linyuan Ma, et al.  © 2020 Springer Nature Limited.  All rights reserved.

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MiCas9 increases large size gene knock-in rates and reduces undesirable on-target and off-target indel edits | Nature Communications

As recently explained in the journal Nature Communications, engineers at Duke University have demonstrated a dual-mode heating and cooling device for building climate control which, if widely deployed in the U.S., could cut HVAC energy use by nearly 20 percent.

The invention uses a combination of mechanics and materials science to either harness or expels certain wavelengths of light.  Depending on conditions, rollers move a sheet back and forth to expose either heat-trapping materials on one half or cooling materials on the other.  Specially designed at the nanoscale, one material absorbs the sun’s...

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