Jennifer Doudna, AP Images

A Jen­nifer Doud­na-led team finds a new CRISPR en­zyme in the gi­ant virus­es of a Cal­i­for­nia mud bog

A team led by UC Berke­ley’s Jen­nifer Doud­na has found a new CRISPR en­zyme in an un­like­ly place: Virus­es.

CRISPR, the gene-edit­ing sys­tem that’s un­leashed a rev­o­lu­tion in bio­med­ical re­search, was first re­verse-en­gi­neered from a sys­tem bac­te­ria evolved over eons to de­fend them­selves from virus­es. So virus­es may sound like a strange place for CRISPR to show up. But the pathogens Doud­na were study­ing be­longed to a par­tic­u­lar kind of virus­es that re­searchers are just un­cov­er­ing: Huge phages – mas­sive virus­es that feed on bac­te­ria.

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