The genome editing system called CRISPR earned Science magazine’s “2015 Breakthrough of the Year.” The advent of facile genome engineering using the bacterial RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas9 system in animals and plants is transforming biology. In this talk, CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna presents a brief history of CRISPR biology from its initial discovery through the elucidation of the CRISPR-Cas9 enzyme mechanism, providing the foundation for remarkable developments using this technology to modify, regulate, or visualize genomic loci in a wide variety of cells and organisms. These results highlight a new era in which genomic manipulation is no longer a bottleneck to experiments, paving the way to both fundamental discoveries in biology, with applications in all branches of biotechnology, and strategies for human therapeutics. Recent results regarding the molecular mechanism of Cas9 and its use for targeted cell-based therapies will be discussed.
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