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DESIGN CELLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DESIGN CELLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of the CRISPR-Cas9 protein cutting a double helix if DNA in a specific place, inactivating it. Cas9 is a protein that searches DNA molecules for sequences that are complementary to a short piece of guide RNA, then makes a double-stranded break in the DNA. This system was discovered in bacteria, where it functions as an antiviral immune system. The bacteria cuts up invading viral genetic material and uses the pieces as a guide in Cas9 proteins, which then destroy any subsequent matching viruses. The system has been developed as a tool in genetic engineering, as the guide RNA can be made separately to the Cas9, making it easy to design a system to cut DNA at a desired spot.
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