CET and skills guides

Study and gain CET points through OT’s online CET exams, and access archived CET, CPD articles and skills guides in our education library

Find out more

Science and vision

News and features about the latest scientific developments and advances in optometry, ophthalmology and eye medicine

Find out more


News and features about the latest developments in optics with a focus on industry

Find out more

Professional support

News and features about the latest developments relating to professional support from across optics. This includes updates from optical organisations such as the AOP and the GOC

Find out more

In practice

News and in-depth features about business management and career development in optics

Find out more


Explore the latest UK and global jobs in the optical sector for optometrists, dispensing opticians and more

Find out more

Gene editing can cause unintended mutations

A new study has found that CRISPR gene editing sometimes hits other parts of the genome when targeting specific sections of DNA


Researchers have reported that gene editing can result in the introduction of hundreds of unintended mutations to the genome. 

The study, published in Nature Methods, comes as CRISPR gene editing technology begins to move into clinical trials in China, with a further clinical trial in the US planned for next year. 

Gene editing holds potential for the treatment of inherited eye conditions, including retinitis pigmentosa.

In the latest research, scientists sequenced the entire genome of mice that had undergone CRISPR gene editing. 

The researchers found that while the gene editing had successfully corrected a gene that caused blindness, there were more than 1500 single-nucleotide mutations and more than 100 larger gene deletions and insertions. 

None of the mutations were predicted by computer algorithms that are commonly used to look for off-target effects. 

Study co-author, Dr Stephen Tsang, told OT  that researchers needed to be aware of the potential for unintended effects of gene editing.

“We feel it’s critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR,” he concluded. 

Researchers are working to increase the efficiency of gene editing by improving the components of the CRISPR system.