Gene Editing

Gene editing is a type of genetic engineering use in both agricultural and human research in which DNA is inserted, replaced, or removed from a genome using artificially engineered nucleases, or “molecular scissors.” There are currently four families of engineered nucleases being used: Zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs), the CRISPR/Cas system, and engineered meganuclease re-engineered homing endonucleases. It can also involve gene silencing using RNA interference (RNAi). Unlike transgenics, which involves the transfer of genes from another species (“foreign” genes, used in transgenics). This process is cisgenic, meaning it involves changes made from within the organism itself.

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