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Programmed DNA destruction by miniature CRISPR-Cas14 enzymes

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Science  16 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6416, pp. 839-842
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav4294

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A programmable type of CRISPR system

CRISPR-Cas9 systems have been causing a revolution in biology. Harrington et al. describe the discovery and technological implementation of an additional type of CRISPR system based on an extracompact effector protein, Cas14. Metagenomics data, particularly from uncultivated samples, uncovered the CRISPR-Cas14 systems containing all the components necessary for adaptive immunity in prokaryotes. At half the size of class 2 CRISPR effectors, Cas14 appears to target single-stranded DNA without class 2 sequence restrictions. By leveraging this activity, a fast and high-fidelity nucleic acid detection system enabled detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

Science, this issue p. 839