Scientific advances: Retrons exceed CRISPR/Cas to screen barcoded gene variant libraries in bacteria

The lab of George Church at Harvard University has created a new gene editing tool called ‘Retron Library Recombineering’ (RLR) that generates up to millions of mutations simultaneously in bacteria. Described as a simpler, more flexible gene editing tool that can be used for highly multiplexed experiments, the system is based on another aspect of the bacterial immune system involving retrons, segments of DNA that are reverse transcribed to produce single-stranded DNA that detects infecting phages.

Max G. Schubert, M.G., et al. (2021) High-throughput functional variant screens via in vivo production of single-stranded DNA. PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2018181118

Keywords: retron; synthetic biology, bacteria

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