How research on bacterial immune systems led to CRISPR
CRISPR — a DNA editing tool revolutionizing the scientific world. CRISPR gives scientists and laboratories the ability to cut out malfunctioning DNA and replace it with functioning DNA. To do this, scientists must first program a specific RNA molecule and attach it to the protein Cas-9. When introduced to cells, this RNA/Cas-9 hybrid will seek out the malfunctioning DNA and cut it out, like a pair of molecular scissors. Scientists can then either insert the correct DNA, or the body can repair the cut itself.
CRISPR started as a basic research project in Dr. Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC Berkeley. She was studying how bacterial immune systems fight off invading viral DNA. Through this research Dr. Doudna and her team, collaborating with Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, turned that knowledge into what we now know as CRISPR, the world’s most powerful DNA editing tool.
2010 NSF grant to Dr. Doudna: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=0950971&HistoricalAwards=false
For more information about CRISPR and the Innovative Genomics Initiative, visit: https://innovativegenomics.org/