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UVA Researchers Find New Way to Shut Off Genes to Battle Genetic Diseases

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Researchers at the University of Virginia may have found a safer and more efficient way to turn off unwanted gene activity. 

This could lead to a better understanding of treating genetic diseases like hemophilia and cystic fibrosis. 

They are modifying a gene editing technology called the CRISPR system. That method would often result in the cell itself dying, thus causing an unwanted body reaction. This new approach that instead silences the genes allows researchers to study their function. 

This will help scientists identify genes that cause disease.

"In certain diseases the genes are too active, and we want to turn these genes off which means to inactivate them, so that we can bring these genes to a normal level," said Mazhar Adli, UVA assistant professor. 

Humans have roughly 20,000 genes and with this new technology, researchers are able to target about 17,000 of them all at the same time.

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