—Patent Picks: CRISPR/Cas9 Gene-Editing Systems “A look at recent patenting activity in CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing systems, brought to you by C&EN and CAS” Bacteria don’t have an immune system like humans do, but they do have a means to track and neutralize invaders’ DNA. To detect the DNA of infecting viruses, for example, bacteria rely on repetitive patterns in noncoding areas of their genomes, called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) sequences. When viral DNA binds to such CRISPR sequences, Cas9, a DNA-cutting enzyme, steps in to cut it up. Scientists are now rushing to harness CRISPR/Cas9 as a gene-editing tool. All that is required is pairing an engineered Cas9 enzyme with a small customized RNA that guides Cas9 to the gene to be edited.
September 29, 2014