The discovery of the CRISPR adaptive immunity system in bacteria has provided us with a powerful new tool with which we can begin to edit the human genome. The Cas9 endonuclease is able to bind to a specific unique site in the 3.2 billion base-pair human genome – and make a double-stranded cut. This sequence-specific cut is the first step in the process of genome editing. In this workshop we will explore the molecular mechanism of CRISPR Cas9, including the use of a guide RNA to program the nuclease to target a specific nucleotide sequence. Teachers will be introduced to a hands-on model – Cas9 Making the Cut – that can be used to introduce this topic to students. This Making the Cut Kit is designed to be used after the students are first introduced to the CRISPR system using the CRISPR Adaptive Immunity Kit©
. We will also explore how Cas9 is being engineered to become an even more powerful genome editing tool.