CRISPR-Cas9 is a powerful gene editing tool that allows scientists to make precise changes to the DNA of living cells. In this article, we will discuss about genome editing and understand what CRISPR-Cas9 is.
What is genome editing?
Genome editing is a process where an organism’s DNA can be changed. The technologies developed for genome editing allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. The advent of versatile genome-editing technologies in recent years has enabled researchers to introduce targeted modifications into the genomes of various cell types and organisms quickly and inexpensively.
What is CRISPR-Cas9?
CRISPRs were first discovered in archaea (and later in bacteria) by Francisco Mojica, a scientist at the University of Alicante in Spain. Of the CRISPR/Cas systems, CRISPR/Cas9 is the most developed and widely used tool for current genome editing.
CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9) is a type of gene editing technology.
CRISPR/Cas9 edits genes by precisely cutting DNA and then letting natural DNA repair processes take over. The system consists of two parts: the Cas9 enzyme and a guide RNA. To utilise the CRISPR-Cas9 system, a short RNA piece containing a guide sequence is created to bind to a specific DNA target sequence within the genome. The RNA fragment is paired with the Cas9 enzyme and serves as a delivery mechanism for the enzyme. Once the RNA-Cas9 complex recognizes the target DNA sequence, the Cas9 enzyme cuts the DNA at the site. While Cas9 is the most commonly used enzyme, other enzymes like Cpf1 can also be employed. Following the DNA cut, the cell’s natural DNA repair mechanism is used by researchers to delete or add genetic material or modify the DNA by replacing an existing section with a tailored DNA sequence.
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