center for systems

& synthetic biology

an NIGMS national systems biology center


CRISPR provides plug-and-play possibilities

October 1, 2012

The engineering of genetic circuits can often lead to unwanted structural interactions between the DNA, RNA, and protein components, as well as interference from host factors.

In a clever approach recently published in Nature Biotechnology, Systems Biology Fellow Lei Qi and colleagues utilized the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat) pathway from bacteria as a synthetic RNA-processing platform. This CRISPR-based platform enabled reliable and predictable regulation of multigene operons, thus providing a general approach for creating context-free genetic elements and allowing the engineering of increasingly complex biological systems.