The CRISPR Antidote

Scientists hacked the machinery of cellular warfare to splice genes. Now they’ve found a way to guard against it, too.

An arms race is playing out inside your body. It’s part of an invisible war that’s raged for billions of years. When viruses hunt and infect bacteria, the bacterial survivors store pieces of their vanquished foes — DNA snippets — within their genomes so that next time, they can detect and defend against the attack. In response, viruses evolve their own counterattack. The bacteria’s natural defense system is called CRISPR-Cas9. And in 2012, biochemist Jennifer Dou...

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