What is CRISPR?

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper” or also referred to as CRISPR-Cas) is a recently developed efficient and versatile genome editing tool. The CRISPR-Cas system was originally discovered as a bacterial “immune system” that confers resistance to viruses. Within the natural system, specific sequences within viruses (CRISPR sequences) are recognized by the bacterial biologic ‘scissor’ (Cas enzyme) in order to protect bacteria from viral infection.
Other genome editing tools use other biologic ‘scissor’, such as zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) but they all function using the same principles.