CRISPR CAS9 TECHNOLOGY (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     13th June 2024        
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Context: Researchers recently used CRISPR/Cas9 to alter photosynthesis for the first time.

CRISPR Cas9 Technology

  • About: CRISPR is an acronym representing Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.
  • It is an innovative technology that provides geneticists and medical researchers with the capability to alter precise segments of the genome.
  • Discovery: Some bacteria possess a natural defense mechanism akin to CRISPR/Cas9, allowing them to target and disable viral DNA sequences by snipping them out and incorporating a part of it into their own genome for future immunity.
  • Components

oCas9 Enzyme: Central to CRISPR/Cas9 is the Cas9 enzyme, likened to molecular scissors, capable of precisely cutting both strands of DNA at a predetermined location within the genome.

oGuide RNA (gRNA): Comprising a short pre-designed RNA sequence within a longer scaffold, the gRNA serves as a molecular guide, directing the Cas9 enzyme to the specific target site on the DNA.

  • CRISPRs are unique segments of DNA with specialized functions.
  • The protein Cas9, also known as "CRISPR-associated," functions as an enzyme resembling molecular scissors, proficient in cleaving DNA strands.
  • This capability enables researchers to conveniently modify DNA sequences and manipulate gene behaviour.
  • Mechanism of Action: The guide RNA is engineered to bind with high specificity to a particular sequence on the DNA, ensuring Cas9 cuts precisely at the intended genomic location.

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