A team led by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna and her longtime collaborator Jill Banfield has developed a clever tool to edit the genomes of bacteria-infecting viruses called bacteriophages using a rare form of CRISPR. The ability to easily engineer custom-designed phages—which has long eluded the research community—could help researchers control microbiomes without antibiotics or harsh chemicals, and treat dangerous drug-resistant infections. A paper describing the work was recently published in Nature Microbiology.
CRISPR enzymes are like super scissors: they cut, delete, and add genes to a specific kind of cell, one at a time. But now, UC Berkeley faculty and Biosciences Area researchers have figured out how to add or modify genes within a microbial community of many different species, coining the phrase, “community editing.”
In celebration of the Lab’s 90th anniversary, 16 of our most popular “90 Breakthroughs” faced off in the first ever Berkeley Lab Breakthroughs Bracket Challenge on Twitter. After four weeks of public voting online, the top breakthrough was “Created a Powerful Gene Editing Tool”—otherwise known as CRISPR!