Tag Archives: CRISPR

CRISPRcon: diverse voices debate the future of genome editing

It’s not every day that a scientific conference hosts a panel discussion including a futurist, a director of a non-governmental organization, a pastor, an environmentalist, and a pig farmer—but CRISPRcon wasn’t your typical science conference. In place of presentations about the latest scientific papers and a wall of posters, CRISPRcon provided a platform for a broader

Beyond the Controversy: How CRISPR is Changing Biology

How CRISPR/Cas9 Permanently Modified Molecular Biology

CRISPR/Cas9, a new, easy, and rapid genome editing technique, is at the center of heated debates over gene therapy, human embryo manipulation, and genetically-modified crops. While the most controversial applications of CRISPR/Cas9 likely will not affect the general public for years, this technique immediately and irreversibly changed the landscape of both basic and applied molecular biology research. Fast and easy

Highlights from the Breakthrough Prize Symposium

Last week, as previously advertised, UC Berkeley hosted the Breakthrough Prize symposium, showcasing the research of winners present and previous of the award.  If you missed the symposium, all of the lectures are available on youtube. Symposium Highlights by Daniel Freeman Having not yet mastered the ability to place myself in superposition across the three

CRISPR: A tour de force in gene-editing

Our story begins in the 1980’s, an era defined by big hair, shoulder pads, and Miami Vice, and an era whose closing days would see a rather curious, unassuming discovery. Around this time, scientists found that sections of bacterial genomes contained repetitive sequences with no readily apparent function. These patterns contained palindromic repeats separated by clusters of 30 or so assorted bases termed “spacer DNA”. Researchers learned decades later that these spacer regions contained bits of viral DNA. The tipping point for this peculiar case came seven years ago when a team at Danisco discovered that by exposing S. thermophilus to bacteriophage DNA, they could alter the phage resistance of the bacteria. In the years following, a rather astounding story would unravel, one spearheaded by UC Berkeley’s own Dr. Jennifer Doudna and recently named a top contender (for the second year in a row) for Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year 2013.


As you, dear reader, have indubitably surmised from the title, the story above alludes to the tale of CRISPR. More formally known as “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats,” CRISPR is a novel genome editing technique based on the inherited, adaptable immune system of bacteria which has become red hot in the past two years (and a favorite topic of the BSR!).