Genome Editing

Dissecting an RNA that dissects genomes

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Science  31 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6209, pp. 597
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6209.597-h

By adapting the immune defense system found in many species of bacteria, scientists can now edit the genome of any organism at will. In this system (called type II CRISPR Cas), a small RNA—the single guide RNA (sgRNA)—guides the enzyme Cas9 to DNA complementary sequences, which Cas9 then cleaves. Looking for how the sgRNA targets Cas9 to DNA, Briner et al. identified several structural modules in the sgRNA that determine Cas9 targeting. Some of these motifs also determined which species variant of Cas9 would be targeted. These results may inform the design of more compact and versatile genome editing systems.

Mol. Cell 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.09.019 (2014).

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