Researchers Perform First Surgery on the Human Genome

Time

It turns out the human genome can be snipped and tucked and manipulated surgically, just like any organ

Ever since the human genome was mapped in 2001, scientists have been finding new and novel ways to manipulate it: intervening to remove offending genes or DNA sequences that can contribute to disease, and fixing mutations that can affect people’s health. As remarkable as those advances have been, however, they have only occurred on one dimension—the linear sequence of DNA.

Now scientists report in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences their success in manipulating the genome in 3D. The human genome that’s squeezed into every microscopic cell in the body measures more than two meters long. To stuff it into a space just a few microns wide (the human hair, by comparison, is 40 to 50 microns in diameter) requires some masterful origami-like transformation.

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