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Cas9: one protein to rule them all As we hail CRISPR/Cas as the most versatile, easy to design genome editing tool, as CRISPR in every form and color wins media attention, it is very easy to forget that the true workhorse in this system is an unimposing enzyme: Cas9.

Adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine – these four nucleotides encode all life on earth, lining up in pairs and twisting into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides, “Z” (6-amino-5-nitro-2(1H)-pyridone) and “P” (2-amino-imidazo[1,2-a]-1,3,5-triazin-4(8H)one), can do the same thing — raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses

DNA | The physical structures that surround us all exude a sense of stability – be it the homes we live in or the roads that we travel on. They are built with the best of intentions to stand the test of time, but are all vulnerable to the inevitable threats of aging and decay. To salvage them, we use the tools at our disposal to repair them, iron out flaws and keep them whole. The very molecular structure that makes us who we are, DNA, is locked in the same perpetual struggle.

The brain of an untreated mouse on the left, showing huntingtin protein aggregation (a hallmark of Huntingtons disease) and on the right, the brain of a mouse treated with CRISPR-Cas9 editing, showing the lack of protein aggregation.

Screening with CRISPR— Ever-improving CRISPR-based tools are already ripe for large-scale genetic screens.

In wide range of species, longevity proteins affect dozens of the same genes