In one day I had heard a clip on the radio about a thing called CRISPR that is a hot topic in genomics, and then I saw that radiolab had done a segment on CRISPR. So I figured I needed to look more into this subject. The link above takes you to an interview with a microbiologist who played a role in discovering CRISPR and he talks about how he discovered the genetic sequences and talks about CRISPR’s role in microbes. The link below takes you to the radiolab podcast where you can listen to them explain CRISPR in a fun way, and they talk about its applications to human genetics. The rest of this post will refer to the link above: On The Discovery of CRISPR – An Interview.
Summary: in 1992 Francisco Mojica was working on trying to sequence the genome of some type of halophilic archaea when he noticed a bunch of repeated, equally spaced sequences in the genome. Since genome sequencing was not very good at that time, they repeated there project many times and every time saw that the same regularly spaced sequences. He noticed this same pattern in the genome of E. coli and continued to work with E. coli for this work. Mojica worked on other topics for 10 years before returning to study these repeated, equally spaced sequences. He talks about his difficulties publishing work, how hard it was for him to prove his hypotheses. He believes that CRISPR played an intricate role in the evolution of prokaryotes, and with the discovery of CRISPR it opens up many area’s to study in the fields of genomics and biotechnology. (Radiolab references making super humans thanks to CRISPR)
Connections: In class we have talked about genome sequencing of microbes, microbial evolution, and characteristics of archaea. In lab we have actually gone through the process of DNA sequencing, and we are very lucky that we have the technology to sequences genomes faster, easier, and read them quicker.
Critical analysis: This subject is fun and interesting, and the fact that are so many places where you can find information on this topic means that this may be a big topic in science in the near future. CRISPR research involves many biological disciplines from microbiology, genetics, to possibly engineering. It will be really interesting to see what kind of work comes from these short, repeated sequences.
Question: Do you think it is a possibility that there could be CRISPR sequences in the genomes of our project isolates?