The discovery of an ancient adaptive immune system in bacteria, called the CRISPR/Cas system, has revolutionized modern science. The bacterial proteins that identify and target viral DNA for degradation have been characterized and manipulated for a variety of uses in agriculture, molecular biology, and medicine. As the CRISPR/Cas9 technology is refined and improved, genome-editing applications in particular have broad implications for both bench science and human health. Here we trace key events in the discovery, development and adaptation of CRISPR/Cas9 technologies.
For information on the looming patent war, and ethical implications of CRISPR technologies, check out our related articles, Controlling CRISPR and The Ethics of Embryo Editing. Want a more detailed history of the evolution and applications of this phenomenal system? Be sure to read CRISPR in the Red Queen’s Court.
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