October 24, 2020

Improving CRISPR, a crowd of proteins

Improving CRISPR from Mammoth Biosciences; 

 Genome editing is the process researchers use to make targeted changes to an organism’s DNA (its genome). Scientists have used a variety of technologies for genome editing (see the history of genome editing here). However, since ~2012, CRISPR has made the genome editing processes much easier. CRISPR associated or “Cas” proteins drive this process. They are relatively easy to target to specific DNA sequences. They also work in many organisms.

Yet, the main Cas protein currently used for CRISPR genome editing, SpCas9, has limitations. In this post, we cover SpCas9’s limitations and how newly discovered Cas protein families, Cas14 and CasΦ, potentially overcome these limitations. We hope Cas14 and CasΦ will enable more efficient genome editing in diverse organisms and tissues.