Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique

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Summary Emmanuelle Charpentier, membre étranger

CRISPR-CAS9: TRANSFORMING LIFE SCIENCES THROUGH BACTERIA

par Emmanuelle CHARPENTIER (*)

The discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is considered one of the most important biotechnology breakthroughs of our times. Initially described as a bacterial immune system, the understanding of the CRISPR-Cas9 mechanism by our laboratory led to its development as RNA programmable molecular scissors that can modify DNA and its expression in multiple ways. Similar to a text editing software, the CRISPR-Cas9 technology can correct typos, delete or exchange letters and sentences in the DNA of living cells. In only six years, CRISPR-Cas9 has developed into one of the most dynamic and fastest-moving fields in life sciences with innovative applications in biotechnology, agriculture and medicine at the horizon.

The lecture will focus on the individual steps of research that ultimately led to the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, and on some relevant applications in life sciences.

(*) Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, D-10117 Berlin, Germany; 2Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Department of Regulation in Infection Biology, D-10117 Berlin, Germany; 3Humboldt University, Institute for Biology, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.