Scientists unveil CRISPR-based Diagnostic platform “SHERLOCK” | QPT
A team of scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and few other Institutes has adapted a CRISPR protein that targets RNA (rather than DNA) as a rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive diagnostic tool with the potential for a transformative effect on research and global public health.
In a study published in Science the scientists describe how this RNA-targeting CRISPR enzyme was harnessed as a highly sensitive detector – able to indicate the presence of as little as a single molecule of a target RNA or DNA molecule.
The researchers dubbed the new tool SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing); this technology could one day be used to respond to viral and bacterial outbreaks, monitor antibiotic resistance, and detect cancer.
The Scientsts demonstrate the method’s versatility on a range of applications, including:
Detecting the presence of Zika virus in patient blood or urine samples within hours;
Distinguishing between the genetic sequences of African and American strains of Zika virus;
Discriminating specific types of bacteria, such as E. coli;
Detecting antibiotic resistance genes;
Identifying cancerous mutations in simulated cell-free DNA fragments; and
Rapidly reading human genetic information, such as risk of heart disease, from a saliva sample.
Because the tool can be designed for use as a paper-based test that does not require refrigeration, the researchers say it is well suited for fast deployment and widespread use inside and outside of traditional settings — such as at a field hospital during an outbreak, or a rural clinic with limited access to advanced equipment.
News Source: http://news.mit.edu/2017/scientists-unveil-crispr-based-diagnostic-platform-0413
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