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Advances in modifying target genes

Research Achievements

Advances in modifying target genes

In last year's report, we described research in which Moscow and Bogdanave (Science, 2009) deciphered the DNA-binding "code" used by bacterial TAL effector proteins to identify binding sites in rice genomic DNA. Building on this work, Erin Doyle (ISU IGERT trainee), also working with Adam Bogdanove (IGERT advisor, Plant Pathology, ISU) and their collaborators have now demonstrated that "TALENs," TAL effector DNA binding domains coupled with nucleases, can be used to create double-stranded breaks at desired locations in genomic DNA, thus allowing researchers to modify target genes with high specificity and efficiency. Interdisciplinary teamwork fostered by our IGERT-sponsored BCBLab at ISU was instrumental in the discovery of the TAL binding code, in experiments that demonstrated the utility of TALENs genomic modification reagents, and in implementing a web-based server that provides computational resources and tools for other scientists who wish to exploit TALENs in their research.