CRISPR-cas systems (often called just ‘CRISPR’) have in 10 years emerged from being features of micro-organism genomes that interest connoisseurs, to becoming a powerful tool in biotechnology and contenders for "the next big thing" in medicine. In this talk I will illustrate how CRISPRs were discovered, through DNA sequencing technologies and basic research into yoghurt. The biology and atomic-level structures of CRISPR proteins will be used to illuminate how these proteins are machines that edit DNA, a trick important in nature and useful in human-led biotechnology. What about the future of CRISPR in research and development? This will be discussed, raising ideas about the fundamental biology of CRISPRs and ethics of humans embarking on biological engineering of ourselves and other organisms.
Speaker: Dr Edward Bolt, University of Nottingham