October 26, 2015

Changing just one letter of the DNA of red blood cells holds the promise for a cure to sickle cell anemia and similar blood disorders, Australian researchers have found.

A study at the University of New South Wales shows that a single genetic modification – which essentially switches on a gene that is sleeping in most people after birth – can increase the production of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin.

“An exciting new age of genome editing is beginning, now that single genes within our vast genome can be precisely cut and repaired,” Merlin Crossley, Dean of Science at the university and the lead researcher in the study, said in a university news release.