AI + CRISPR: The powerful duo that directs our genetic code

Hello, hello! Get ready for an epic combination: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and CRISPR are taking full control of the genetic code! It’s as if they have the power to turn the light of our genes on or off, like magic switches or volume knobs! This mind-blowing study I just discovered reveals that scientists at New York University, Columbia Engineering and the New York Genome Center have joined forces to use deep learning modeling coupled with CRISPR technology to manipulate human gene expression in astonishing ways. Imagine, they can turn off genes completely, like turning off the light in a room, or partially reduce their activity, like adjusting the volume of a song. It’s crazy!

Now, you may ask, what does all this mean? Well, these precise genetic controls could open the door to entirely new CRISPR-based treatments. Isn’t it amazing? We could be witnessing a revolutionary advance in medicine. But wait, there’s more, artificial intelligence also has an ace up its sleeve when it comes to CRISPR. According to this research, AI can predict how CRISPR will behave by targeting RNA instead of DNA. It’s like they have a crystal ball to see the genetic future! To understand a little better, CRISPR is a technology that allows us to edit genes, and its use goes beyond medicine, we can use it to treat diseases like sickle cell anemia and even improve the flavor of mustard greens (yes! , oh really!). Until now, scientists have focused on targeting DNA using an enzyme called Cas9, but it turns out there’s another type of CRISPR that targets RNA using an enzyme called Cas13. This further expands our possibilities!

CRISPR targeting RNA has a lot of exciting applications; for example, we can edit RNA, block the expression of a specific gene, or even detect promising potential drugs. Imagine having a tool that helps us better understand RNA regulation and the function of non-coding RNAs. Furthermore, RNA-targeted CRISPR may also be our secret weapon against viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. It’s like an epic fight against viral invaders! But here comes the really cool part, researchers at NYU and the New York Genome Center have created a platform using RNA-targeted CRISPR screens to harness all this power, their goal is to maximize CRISPR activity on the target RNA and minimize any unwanted activity that may have side effects. We don’t want to cause problems in our cells!

This research goes further, using artificial intelligence, they created a deep learning model called TIGER (Targeted Inhibition of Gene Expression via RNA Guidance Design) that is like a genetic guru. This model can predict both on-target and off-target activity! It’s as if TIGER can read CRISPR’s mind. The most amazing thing is that, thanks to TIGER, we can now adjust the dose of genes with amazing precision. Imagine having the ability to reduce the expression of a specific gene by 70% or eliminate it completely, this could be incredibly useful for treating diseases where there are too many copies of a gene, such as Down syndrome or certain types of cancer. It’s as if we found a way to fine-tune our genome!

And this is just the beginning! Imagine all the exciting adventures that await us in the field of biomedicine thanks to this great duo. I am sure that the next few years will be amazing for molecular biology and biomedical applications. Artificial intelligence and CRISPR are here to stay and revolutionize the genetic game. Are you ready for this epic journey? I am!

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