October 2018: Science publishes a paper by Burstein on tiny new CRISPR-Cas systems
Science Journal publishes a paper by Edmond J. Safra member, Dr. David Burstein (Life Sciences).
CRISPR-Cas systems serve in nature as a bacterial adaptive immune system against viruses. These systems, specifically the DNA-targeting Cas9 and Cas12, have been broadly repurposed as a genome editing and manipulation tools.
A recent paper published in Science by Dr. David Burstein, Edmond J. Safra member, and colleagues from UC Berkeley, describes the discovery of a wide diversity of novel CRISPR-Cas systems (Cas14) that were found in uncultivated microbes using metagenomic analysis.
The Cas14 proteins are considerably smaller than any previously described CRISPR-Cas system. Cas14 can accurately recognize DNA targets, which, as demonstrated in the paper, allows using it as a high-fidelity SNP genotyping tool. These tiny systems are an important addition to the CRISPR-based toolbox and a possible explanation regarding the evolutionary origins of CRISPR-Cas.
The work was performed by Dr. Burstein while being a postdoc in UC Berkeley, in collaboration with the Join Genome Institute (JGI) under the supervision of Jennifer Doudna and Jill Banfield, UC Berkeley.