Recently scientists have discovered Glow in the dark proteins that could help diagnose viral diseases. Scientist rely on a chemical reaction using the luciferase protein, which “catalyze the oxidation of the substrate in a reaction that results in the emission of a photon”, which then causes the glow in the dark effect. The luciferase protien is then put into sensors that show a light when they find their target. Although these sensors are simple and would make point-of-care testing much easier, scientists have “lacked the sensitivity required of a clinical diagnostic test”. The gene editing tool CRISPR could provide this for them but requires many steps. According to MedlinePlus gene editing is a “a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA“. A well known type of gene editing is called CRISPR, it is supposed to be more efficient and accurate than other genome editing methods. Scientist Maarten Merk decided to use CRIPSR related proteins and combine them with a bioluminescence technique whose signal could be detected. During testing scientists discovered that if a specific viral genome that was being tested for was present, the two CRISPR proteins would bind to the specific nucleic acid sequences and come close to each other, this would then cause the luciferase protein to shine a blue light.
AP Bio Connection
Exons are the coding regions of a gene that are translated into functional proteins. These contain the information needed for the synthesis of a specific protein. Introns are the non-coding regions of a gene that do not code for proteins. Introns are transcribed into RNA along with the exons, but they are removed from the final RNA transcript. Gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas9, rely on specific recognition of DNA sequences by the Cas9 enzyme. To achieve targeted gene editing, the Cas9 enzyme needs to be guided to a specific site in the genome using RNA molecules called guide gRNAs. gRNAs are designed to bind to a specific sequence in the genome, typically located in an exon, which is then split by the Cas9 enzyme.