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The CRISPR Competitor That Wasn’t

August 3, 2017

At this point, CRISPR is essentially synonymous with the process of gene-editing. But many researchers are trying to find alternatives, and in May 2016 Chinese researchers published a study which suggested that an enzyme called NgAgo could be used to slice and dice DNA instead of the cas9 enzyme used by CRISPR. (For a run down on how the hell CRISPR works, check out our two-minute explainer.) At the time, the researchers even said that NgAgo might end up more versatile than its infamous competitor. But things haven’t played out well for the team from Hebei University of Science and Technology in Shijiazhuang, China. Nature reports that other laboratories have tried to replicate the NgAgo approach and failed, forcing the researchers to retract their original paper. CRISPR can rest easy.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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