JAN 21, 2019 11:38 AM PST

Detecting Disease With SHERLOCK

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

You may have heard about the CRISPR gene-editing tool, which was derived from the bacterial immune system. Used by bacteria in nature to detect and destroy invaders, researchers figured out how to modify this system so it could be applied to cells in the laboratory or in developing animals; it can cut the genome in a place that is specified by the experimenter.

An enzyme that cuts the DNA is essential to this process, along with a piece of RNA that tells the enzyme where to make the cut. While Cas9 is often used as the enzymatic cutter, there are others that can be applied to the CRISPR-Cas system, including Cas13. Scientists at MIT that were involved in developing the CRISPR-Cas9 tool have now created SHERLOCK, which can target RNA with Cas13 instead of DNA (targeted by Cas9). Learn more from the video.

Related: A New Tool in the CRISPR Arsenal

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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