“Gene editing is the method to modify the genome. If we regard the genome as an instruction book of life, we could edit this book via the gene editing technique like we edit the words in the Word document.” said Xiulan Hu, vice manager from SunyBiotech.
At the fifteenth China·Straits Project Achievement Fair, CRI Online reporter interviewed Xiulan Hu. SunyBiotech is a high-end biotechnology company, founded in October of 2016. It provides high quality and professional gene editing service in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, as well as related technical services, including plasmid construction, protein purification, generation of antibodies and others.
“We have a team of scientists who are experts on the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing techniques in nematodes and were postdoctoral fellows and graduate students trained in top-notch universities in China and abroad, such as Tsinghua University, Xiamen University, and Columbia University. The average age of our team members is 29 years old and they are all post-80s and post-90s. They are young and dynamic.” Xiulan Hu said.
Hu explained: Our clients are laboratories in the universities and research institutes all over the world. So far, we have successfully provided precise gene knock-out and knock-in strains and other C. elegans related services to scientists at Harvard Medical School, University of Sydney, UCSF, University of Saskatchewan, University of Bristol, Université de Fribourg, etc.
“We know that Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is vital genetic material. Our core technology is the ability to carry out desired modifications on DNA. We can make precise and targeted gene editing at any gene locus in the C.elegans genome via the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We have successfully edited, inserted or deleted gene sequences according to the demands of our customers and have provided many edited nematode strains for laboratories in research institutes and Universities all over the world. At the same time, because humans and nematodes share a lot of highly conserved genes, we can use C.elegans as animal models to study human diseases and conduct related drug screens. These are also our mature and core techniques.” Xiulan Hu was very proud to introduce her company’s core technologies to the CRI Online.
When it comes to the application prospects of nematode gene editing, Xiulan Hu said: “In the last century, the generation, migration and differentiation of the 1090 somatic cell in C. elegans have been mapped out clearly. In 2012, the nematode was the only organism whose neuronal connectome has been determined, with 302 neurons and more than 7000 neuronal connections or synapses being clearly mapped and positioned. Most importantly, C. elegans is a multi-cellular organism, with which we can conduct true in vivo scientific research. Compared to studies in mammalian cell cultures, which are easily affected by different cell culture conditions, findings from C.elegans are more convincing. These advantages are especially attractive for mechanistic studies of human diseases and drug screens to treat diseases such as Parkinson's disease, aging, cancer and hepatitis B virus. At present, several countries have begun to develop new methods to treat malignant tumors based on apoptosis-inducing compounds. It can be predicted that in the near future studies using C. elegans as disease models will play important roles in treatment of cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and hepatitis B virus.”
About company’s future developments, Xiulan Hu told the CRI Online reporter: “Our objectives are to continue providing professional and precise gene editing service in C. elegans for universities, research institutes and industries all over the world, providing consulting services and technical support for laboratories that conduct research work based on C. elegans in China, and collaborating with pharmaceutical companies, scientists, and laboratories in the world to develop medicines based on C. elegans disease models and to facilitate the development of scientific collaborations between China and the world. ”