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The Tale of the TALEs

Science  14 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6113, pp. 1408-1411
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6113.1408

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Summary

Some of biology's best technologies come from unexpected places. Now, proteins from a feared plant pest are poised to make genome engineering, the large-scale, directed manipulation of genes, routine for researchers. These proteins, called transcription activator–like effectors (TALEs), can be programmed to home in on specific DNA sequences and carry out an action once there. When attached to enzymes called nucleases that cut DNA, for example, they can knock out a gene or change its sequence. Engineered TALEs have now targeted a wide range of genes in a variety of organisms.