Science Market Update

Breakthroughs in Life Sciences with CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Tool

Posted by David Larsen on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., and Jennifer A. Doudna, Ph.D., have been awarded the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for their work in developing the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool. Dr. Charpentier is the head of the Regulation in Infection Biology department at the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research) in Braunschweig, Germany, and also a co-founder and advisor to Swiss drug developer CRISPR Therapeutics.


Dr. Doudna is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at the University of California, BerkeleyIt’s been less than two years since Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna reported in Science a startlingly versatile strategy to precisely target and snip out DNA at multiple sites in the cells of microbes, plants and animals. But since her landmark paper, more than 100 labs have already taken up the new genomic engineering technique to delete, add or suppress genes in fruit flies, mice, zebrafish and other animals widely used to model genetic function in human disease.                                                                                                                                               Jennifer Doudna in her lab. Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt

Last year, Doudna and her colleagues showed that this “molecular scissors” approach, known as CRISPR/Cas9, can be used with great precision to selectively disable or add several genes at once in human cells, offering a potent new tool to understand and treat complex genetic diseases. The technology combines RNA molecules with an enzyme known as Cas9 to target specific DNA sequences. The enzyme cuts the DNA in a precise location, so that researchers can either knock out the gene’s activity or patch in a healthy gene. Since every gene’s DNA has an RNA counterpart, virtually any gene can be targeted by using a specific RNA sequence. And since only one type of enzyme is needed, many genes can be edited at the same time. Last year, one researcher successfully modified five genes in experiments with mouse embryonic stem cells. If advanced to human cells, this could greatly boost the promise of therapy for diseases involving multiple genes. 

“Here we have a single protein that can be reprogrammed to work with any RNA sequence to edit selected genes,” Doudna explains. “I think that’s why we’re seeing such an explosion. It’s so accessible, inexpensive and it works very efficiently.”

CRISPR/Cas9 is simpler, quicker, more precise and versatile than current genomic engineering techniques  -- a kind of one-stop genomic editing shop.

UC Berkeley ranks first among U.S. universities in the number of highly ranked graduate programs. And with over $730 million in research funding for the fiscal year of 2013/14, the University of California Berkeley continues to make incredible leaps in life science research.Berk_14Breakthroughs in science are what we at Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. get excited about because we know that we helped play a role in the advancement of that research. We provide trade shows that allow researchers like Dr. Doudna to have access to the latest technology in lab equipment for these life science discoveries. For over 22 years we have been helping bring new products and services to top research universities around the country. In fact, we have a show coming up in June of 2015 at Berkeley and many other top funded research universities in California. If you are looking to present your lab products to top researchers at UC Berkeley please follow the buttons provided. Or, if you are a researcher and would like to preregister for an upcoming event, click below! This link will provide info about our shows around the nation in 2015.

Researchers Get Pricing

Tags: CA, genome research, Southwest, genetic engineering, 2015, Berkeley, BioResearch Product Faire Event, UC Berkeley, UCBerk

Subscribe to Company News