2018 AMI Online Salon

CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing in Bacteria

Project Details

  • Artist(s):  Terese Winslow
  • Contributors: Susan Schmidler; Alexandria, Virginia
  • Client: ASM Press
  • Copyright: © 2017 Illustration: © 2017 Terese Winslow LLC, Photo: Wittman et al. Virology Journal 2014, 11:14
  • Medium / software used: Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Textbook cover illustration
  • Primary audience: Students or professionals in the field of bacterial molecular genetics

Project Description

The cover illustration depicts an efficient and reliable new tool based on a bacterial CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease (Cas9) that allows scientists to make precise, targeted changes to the genome of living cells. CRISPR-Cas9 helps bacteria respond to and eliminate invading viral genetic material. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. These DNA repeat sequences have spaces between them in which bacteria keep genetic memories of viruses that have invaded in the past. When a virus invades a bacterium, the enzyme Cas9 along with a guide RNA (crRNA and trRNA) help match the viral DNA to the genetic memory. The DNA is cut thus destroying the virus. This system may be an important tool for gene editing in humans.