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26 October 2017AmericasSanchith Shivakumar

Finding the right balance

CRISPR, or clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, has been hailed as one of the most game-changing advances in genetic technology and perhaps even all of science.

CRISPR and the associated Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) had puzzled scientists until an experimental demonstration of its function in 2007.

A hitherto inexplicable DNA sequence had been found in bacterial immune systems, and only after the discovery that these sequences were interspaced with DNA sequences from hostile viruses did scientists realise what CRISPR was: a perfect, naturally occurring genetic editing system which functions by storing a snippet of the virus’s DNA sequence for thwarting future attacks from the same invading virus.

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