CRISPR Patent Battle: Beautiful Science, Poor Public Policy.

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Date: May 2022
From: Oncology(Vol. 36, Issue 5)
Publisher: Intellisphere, LLC
Document Type: Article
Length: 902 words
Lexile Measure: 1590L

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CRISPR is a way of editing genes very efficiently. Standing for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, CRISPR began with investigations by bacteriologists, including Danish yogurt makers, into repetitive segments of bacterial DNA. The repeated segments were unusual because they were not sequential--but had other coding regions between them. Eventually these coding regions were understood to represent a means of repelling viral or bacteriophage infections and, for example, led to a much more stable strain of yogurt culture.

However, researchers in the mid-2000s realized that when coupled with an editing enzyme, Cas9, the CRISPR system could be used to direct specific sites for genes to be deleted or modified. The technique became even more efficient when Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier (Nobel Prize winners) combined 2 kinds of RNA to form a single RNA guide for the Cas9 enzyme and were able to specifically code for precisely where the guide would bind to DNA and direct the Cas9 enzyme. They published the key papers in 2012, in which they showed the system worked in vitro and in bacteria. (1)

The University of California (UC), with the University of Vienna, filed a patent early in 2012 for this technology based on the work of these 2 scientists. Shortly thereafter, Feng Zhang, PhD, of the Broad Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, made additional modifications to allow the CRISPR-Cas9...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A704419375