The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is making progress in its program designed to reduce risks in genetic engineering technologies.
The agency said Tuesday its Safe Genes program's first phase has resulted to the development of tools that would aid in studying the control of genome editors. The overall effort seeks to create technologies and approaches that allow for the manipulation, blocking, reversing and predictive use of genome augmentations.
DARPA also seeks to support military force security and public health via genetic technologies that result from the program, launched in 2017.
“During the first phase of Safe Genes, we focused on ground truth, technological foundations and early proofs of concept to determine which research pathways show the most promise,” said Renee Wegrzyn, Safe Genes program manager.
Other Safe Genes research teams are working on efforts to complete a layered, modular tool kit that supports the program's goals, Wegrzyn noted.
Massachusetts General Hospital leads a Safe Genes team that delivered multiple program contributions such as genetic edit measurement tools and an open-source analysis software. The Verification of In Vivo Off-targets or VIVO design technology detects off-target mutations, and the CRISPResso2 software allows researchers to rapidly analyze genome editing sequences.