The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9 system functions as part of bacteria’s adaptive immunity against viruses, where Cas9, a CRISPR-associated nuclease, binds to foreign viral DNA and cleaves it. Scientists have tapped this function of CRISPR-Cas9 to use it as a gene editing tool. Now, in 2 recent studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an international team of researchers has characterized 4 new CRISPR nucleases, Cpf1, C2c1, C2c2, and C2c3 (Shmakov S et al. Mol Cell. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2015.10.008 [published online October 22, 2015]; Zetsche B et al. Cell. 2015;163:759-771).
Jacob JA. Four New CRISPR Nucleases Characterized. JAMA. 2015;314(24):2607. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.17173