CRISPR-Cas9: The bold, new, fast, inexpensive frontier of gene editing

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If Helen of Troy possessed the face that launched a thousand ships, it is not a stretch to say that the publication in the summer of 2012 of “A Programmable Dual-RNA–Guided DNA Endonuclease in Adaptive Bacterial Immunity” in the journal Science by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, is the research that launched a thousand gene editing labs. The now well-known research detailed the use of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) with CRISPR associated (Cas) protein for highly targeted gene editing. The implications of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology are huge – some have said it is a breakthrough of similar importance to the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology for gene amplification developed more than 30 years ago. The power of the new technology lies in its ability to precisely cut and edit targeted genes in virtually any organism, while also being significantly easier to use than other existing gene editing methods.

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