CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing complex, illustration. This complex consists of the CRISPR-Cas9 protein (centre) bound to specific forms of RNA (ribonucleic acid) used in genome engineering to cut DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, double helix strand). Here, forms of RNA known as trans-activating crRNA (tracrRNA, centre right) and CRISPR RNA (crRNA, centre) are binding to and cutting the DNA at a complementary site (upper centre). A fragment of DNA (upper centre) is being inserted (white arrow) into the resulting gap. The tracrRNA and crRNA shown here are the natural form of the mechanism used by researchers in genetic engineering, which uses a different (engineered) form of RNA called guide RNA (gRNA) that combines the functions of both tracrRNA and crRNA.
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