Enzyme, or something completely different. Right and and researchers have done exactly what youve just described, and there are um multiple systems now, including one just reported or being about to be reported by jonathan weissman and and the gilbert and their their co workers. I think jonathan has given a bunch of talks on the topic, so i suspect he wouldnt mind uh me talking about it, but uh. The weissman system is called crisper off and it uses uh. It uses a cutting incompetent cast nine like we use in our base. Editors, a dead cast nine fused to a variety of very uh carefully and and cleverly chosen proteins, uh to programmably turn off a whole region of of dna uh, and it does so in a in a heritable way in a way thats durable uh, which is really Quite cool so its not as though you necessarily have to administer for the rest of the lifetime of the organism or the patient, uh the the editing agents to get a long, lasting change in gene expression. But i i generally agree that that targeted, epigenetic modulation is one of the the great frontiers of of this new kind of democratized programmable way of looking at the genome and in the interest of full disclosure uh. I uh. I have co founded a company in this space, uh called chroma medicine uh with jonathan weissman, keith john and andrew gilbert, so uh to be transparent, uh. I i certainly believe enough in in the potential of of those systems uh to be involved in trying to translate that into patient benefit cool, and you mentioned one question i was going to ask you about, which is the heritability of the fact that, obviously, with genome Editing it kind of makes sense right if youve managed to edit the genetic dna sequence, it can get passed on through the semi conservative replication to next cells, but epi genetic changes.
I just say it can be questionable about whether or not they would be permanent but um. I think our understanding of um, the epigenetic, is improving all the time and um cell states, which pretty much governs, which genes are being expressed in different cell types. Um and cellular reprogramming, going from a differentiated cell back to a stem cell. Um are all things that essentially could be mediated by just making, maybe a few precise epigenetic marks that could propagate throughout the rest of the cell. I dont know what your thoughts are right now i totally agree, and i i think one of the one of the really cool scientific discoveries of the past few decades, in my opinion, have been, has been the discovery of ways that epigenetic marks are maintained over time. So that changes to the state of dna, modification or proteins that regulate gene expression are not simply modulating gene expression only at the moment that theyre installed, but rather they can actually be passed down to progeny cells as well. So i mean in a sense its its the core definition of epigenetics that you can regulate changes in biology, even that are heritable. That dont necessarily require changes in dna, and that that phenomenon is is both is both now pretty well established. Uh is is highly uh relevant for treating uh, potentially uh genetic diseases, as well as doing a lot of cool research in biology and genetics, and, i think, is poised to be one of the the great new frontiers of of the sort of programmable.