CRISPR-Cas9 is so hot in synthetic biology right now (just like how React is so hot in front-end development).
It’s a biological mechanism found in bacteria, newly appropriated to cut specific DNA for genome engineering.
Development and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Engineering (recommended to me by an awesome postdoc) is an excellent paper that summarizes a lot of the developments.
Interestingly, the PDB (Protein Data Bank) also summarizes the basics of CRISPR-Cas9 in a very short and very pretty post. It’s far more digestible than the Wikipedia entry.
Above is a Cas9 visualization I made from its structural data (PDB ID: 4un3). The pink is the Cas9 protein. The orange is the sgRNA. The blue is the target DNA. The barely visible green is the non-target DNA.
Feels good to be looking at synbio again. 😀