I serendipitously stumbled upon The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race and reading the whole thing has been super fascinating. Here are some notes for my future self that you’re welcome to enjoy as well.
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a feature in bacteria (and other prokaryotik organisms) DNA. They are repeating DNA sequences that appear within the bacteria DNA. These CRISPR sequences are derived from virus DNA that have previously infected the bacteria, and are used as an inmune system of sorts that allow bacteria to defend themselves of these same viruses in future infections. CRISPR work by detecting and destroying virus DNA that is attempting to infect the bacteria.
The term CRISPR was coined by Francisco Mojica a Spanish microbiologist who studying the DNA in bacteria who lived in the flamingo-populated salt marshes near the Mediterranean port of Santa Pola stumbled upon the curious fact that there were sequences of DNA that had repeats on them with regular spaced intervals. Francisco realized that there had to be an interesting reason behind these repeated series…
// TODO: talk about the history of CRISPR, and that it was coined by an Spanish biologist
// TODO: talk about the structure of CRISPR and Cas
CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that can be used to edit genes within organisms.
When discussing the CRISPR-Cas9 technology people have used the analogy of a word processor. If one describes DNA as the book (or encyclopedia) of life, the book that describes in exquisite details the characteristics of an species or individual, one can use CRISPR-Cas9 to correct typos (undesired mutations) or write entire new paragraphs (add new characteristics).
Written by Jaime González García , dad, husband, software engineer, ux designer, amateur pixel artist, tinkerer and master of the arcane arts. You can also find him on Twitter jabbering about random stuff.