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Beyond Cas9 - Oct 26, 2016

While CRISPR/Cas9 may be the most famous of the CRISPR gene editing approaches, other enzymes may have their niches, the Wall Street Journal says.

North Carolina State University's Rodolphe Barrangou, for instance, is using Cas3 in his work on antibiotic resistance. "Cas3 is a meaner system and more cumbersome than Cas9," he tells the Journal. "But if you want to cut a tree and get rid of it, you bring a chain saw, not a scalpel."

He and some colleagues have started a company called Locus Biosciences to used CRISPR/Cas3 to develop anti-microbials and combat antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli, and MRSA. But, Locus CEO Paul Garofolo notes that their goal isn't to edit bacteria, instead he says, "We are trying to kill it."

In addition, another enzyme, Cpf1, may allow even more precise editing than Cas9, the Journal says. Chase Beisel from NC State and Locus says he has noted an increasing interest in "the diversity of Crispr Cas systems."

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