Nov 16, 2017

Scientist Captures Incredible Video of CRISPR Editing DNA in Real Time

 

Using a technique called ‘high-speed atomic-force microscopy’, Japanese researcher Osamu Nureki has managed to show CRISPR-Cas9 editing DNA in real-time. In a new paper published in Nature, Nureki outlines how he and his team were able to capture the astonishing footage.

While it may appear grainy and pixelated, it’s important to keep in mind the amazingness of what we’re seeing: a single-molecule movie of DNA search and cleavage by CRISPR-Cas9.

A recent article in The Atlantic sums it up well:

 

There is nothing that surprising in the clip given what scientists already knew, but that is exactly what makes it so astonishing: Scientists had figured out so much about CRISPR without ever seeing it.
 
It had the satisfying snap of things falling into place—like the first time a telescope sighted Neptune years after a French astronomer had predicted its existence from perturbations in the orbit of a neighboring planet.
 
CRISPR obviously exists, and it obviously works. But the evidence for how it works had always been indirect. Modern biochemistry research is a series of elaborate workarounds to infer the behavior of molecules until now too small to see. [source]

 

 

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