CRISPR is an emerging technology that can be widely used in gene editing. CRISPR is actually a natural defense mechanism used by bacteria to defend against invading viruses.
The discovery of CRISPR led to the development of a new generation of genome editing tools that are much faster, more flexible, and more efficient than any method available before. These tools are currently used by numerous laboratories worldwide for genome engineering.
In the early 2000s, Philippe Horvath and Rodolphe Barrangou of Danisco first encountered CRISPR when they were sequencing S. Thermophilus. They realized that CRISPR might be involved in phage infection and subsequent immune defenses.
But CRISPR is not the only mechanism for acquiring resistance to phages. Manufacturers of dairy cultures expose selected bacteria to specific viruses and then collect bacterial strains that can survive the attack. Such an approach (challenging bacterial populations with phages and selecting resistant cells) is a classic phage countermeasure strategy that has been used for more than 25 years.
"Our trick is to use a variety of phages that are specific to the strains being used to make them resistant to a wide range of viruses," says Horvath. DuPont currently has 6,000 phages in its collection to immobilize bacteria, and the list is growing. DuPont has also filed a number of patents on its technique.
In 2007, DuPont began to vaccinate bacterial strains. In 2012, the company first used CRISPR-enhanced cultures to make pizza cheese and called it CHOOZIT SWIFT, a combination of Streptococcus thermophilus strains. All of DuPont's S. thermophilus cultures are now optimized using the company's CRISPR technique, Barango says, and given DuPont's share of the dairy culture market (about 50%), it's likely that you and I, and all dairy lovers, will find CRISPRized products. have consumed
Genetic modification with CRISPR is actually not related to genetic manipulation (GMO)
GMO involves introducing genetically modified material into an organism, while CRISPR is a type of gene editing mechanism that allows researchers to modify the genetic sequence of an organism by making very specific changes to the DNA.
Barengo calls CRISPR-enhanced dairy cultures "non-GMO genetically modified organisms" because they do not contain foreign genetic components. Modification of bacterial genomes can potentially increase immunity against bacteriophages or provide any number of desirable traits in agricultural or livestock products.