The gene-editing technology CRISPR could very well one day rid the world of its most devastating diseases, allowing us to simply edit away the genetic code responsible for an illness. One of the things standing in the way of turning that fantasy into reality, though, is the problem of off-target effects.

Now Microsoft is hoping to use artificial intelligence to fix this problem. You see, CRISPR is fawned over for its precision.

More so than earlier genetic technologies, it can accurately target and alter a tiny fragment of genetic code. But it’s still not always as accurate as we’d like it to be.

Thoughts on how often this happens vary, but at least some of the time, CRISPR makes changes to DNA it was intended to leave alone. Depending on what those changes are, they could inadvertently result in new health problems, such as cancer.

Scientists have long been working on ways to fine-tune CRISPR so that less of these unintended effects occur. Microsoft thinks that artificial intelligence might be one way to do it. Read more from…

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