Synthetic aid for genetic disorder

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The Independent Online
A synthetic miniature chromosome has been created for the first time by a team of scientists in Ohio, US, who hope it will eventually help in the battle against genetic disease.

The new artificial chromosome is about one-fifth to one-tenth the size of a real human chromosome, which is a threadlike structure found in every human cell, responsible for carrying our genetic material. Scientists hope the synthetic construction may be useful in carrying healthy genes into the faulty cells of people with genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis or a form of muscular dystrophy. "People have been so frustrated by gene therapy, which has not lived up to the hype," said Huntington Willard, a geneticist from Case Western Reserve University and an author of the report, published in the journal Nature Genetics. Annabel Ferriman