A CRISPR study has determined how DNA times its own replication, something which until now has been unknown to scientists.

In the research CRISPR was used to target a number of structures within the architecture of mouse embryo stem cell DNA, switching them around or removing them entirely. The scientists first looked at the binding sites for the CCCTC-binding factor protein (CTFC), which regulates transcription. This yielded few results, however.

After the researchers created a high-resolution 3D analysis of the contact sites the DNA made with itself, however, they found a number of vital locations beyond the boundaries of CTFC’s jurisdiction. When they broke these, the replication of the DNA became unstable and random, with the DNA architecture itself weakened and transcription missed.

The results could led to new research on pathology and patient health, with the possibility of finding the processes behind some diseases.