The arms race between prokaryotes and their perpetually evolving predators has fueled the evolution of a defense arsenal. The so-called CRISPR-Cas systems--clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and associated proteins--are adaptive immune defense systems found in bacteria and archaea. The recent exponential growth of research in the CRISPR field has led to the discovery of a diverse range of CRISPR-Cas systems and insight into their defense functions. These systems are divided into two major classes and six types. Each system consists of two components: a locus for memory storage (the CRISPR array) and cas genes that encode the machinery driving immunity.
It is a truly viral movie unlike any seen before - and could change the future of computing. Researchers have revealed the first film stored in bacterial DNA, and say it could herald a revolution in digital storage. The tiny movie, consisting of just five frames, shows a galloping thoroughbred mare named Annie G galloping in 1887, and were taken by the pioneering photographer for his photo series titled Human and Animal Locomotion, one of the first motion pictures ever made. The tiny movie, consisting of just five frames, shows a galloping thoroughbred mare named Annie G galloping in 1887. To the left are the original frames.
Bacteria have a highly adaptable DNA-detecting and -editing machine called CRISPR-Cas to ward off virus attack. The Cas1-Cas2 integrase, with the help of an accessory protein called IHF (integration host factor), captures foreign DNA motifs into bacterial CRISPR loci. These motifs then act as sensors of any further invaders. By analyzing the integrase complex structure, Wright et al. show how Cas1-Cas2 recognizes the CRISPR array for site-specific integration (see the Perspective by Globus and Qimron). IHF sharply bends DNA, which allows DNA to access two active sites within the integrase complex to ensure sequence specificity for the integration reaction.
In the last five years, biology has undergone a seismic shift as researchers around the globe have embraced a revolutionary technology called gene editing. It involves the precise cutting and pasting of DNA by specialized proteins--inspired by nature, engineered by researchers. These proteins come in three varieties, all known by their somewhat clumsy acronyms: ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPRs. But it's Crispr, with its elegant design and simple cell delivery, that's most captured the imagination of scientists. They're now using it to treat genetic diseases, grow climate-resilient crops, and develop designer materials, foods, and drugs.
A federal committee in the US has given its approval for gene editing trials in humans. The trials will be the first to be carried out in humans and well help provide data on the safety of a new technique, which has been shown to be successful in animals. An advisory committee for the National Institutes of Health approved the use of CRISPR, a precise gene editing tool borrowed from bacteria, to boost the effectiveness of existing cancer treatments. Researchers hope the technique – which enables precise editing of DNA – will eventually lead to the widespread use of treatments which use a patient's own immune cells to target cancers. An expert panel in the US has given the green light the use a precise gene editing technique to boost the effectiveness of cancer treatments.