Some diseases are not caused by an error in the DNA code, it is the way the cellular mechanism reads the DNA. The gene that contains the recipe for a particular protein often interacts with molecules that tell the cell how much of that protein to make. When this process is disrupted, overactive or underactive genes lead to diabetes, cancer, and neurological disorders. Therefore, scientists are looking for ways to restore the DNA reading mechanism.

One such pathway is zinc finger regulation, which can both modify and control genes. One of the most abundant protein structures in the human body, zinc fingers can direct DNA repair.

So the scientists created the ZFDesign program, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to model and design the interactions of the zinc fingers. The model is based on data from analysis of approximately 50 billion possible zinc finger interactions with DNA in the researchers’ labs.

“Our program can identify the correct zinc finger grouping for any change and make this type of gene editing faster than ever before,” said David Ichikawa, lead author of the study.

Source: Ferra

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