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Media alert: New articles in the CRISPR Journal

February 21, 2019

The CRISPR Journal announces the publication of its February 2019 issue. The Journal is dedicated to validating and publishing outstanding research and commentary on all aspects of CRISPR and gene editing, including CRISPR biology, technology and genome editing, and commentary and debate of key policy, regulatory, and ethical issues affecting the field. The Journal, led by Editor-in-Chief Rodolphe Barrangou, PhD (North Carolina State University) and Executive Editor Dr. Kevin Davies, is published bimonthly in print and online. See ( for more information.

This press release is copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Its use is granted only for journalists and news media receiving it directly from The CRISPR Journal. For full-text copies of articles or to arrange interviews with Dr. Barrangou, Dr. Davies, authors, or members of the editorial board, contact Kathryn Ryan ( at the Publisher.

1. CRISPRtrack: a computation pipeline for strain tracking based on CRISPR arrays

The microbial immune system integrates short sequences of invader genomes within their CRISPR array to prime them for future immunological encounters. These variable spacer sequences have proven to be an invaluable tool for strain typing. In a new report, researchers at Indiana University present a computational pipeline, CRISPRtrack, for strain tracking based on CRISPR spacer content. Their results demonstrated the potential use of CRISPR arrays as an effective tool for donor strain tracking in fecal transplantation, as well as a generalized tool for quantifying microbiome similarity.

Contact: Yuzhen Ye ( (Indiana University)

2. Single step CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in human fibroblasts

Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) have a poor prognosis with a median survival of only three years post-diagnosis. There is now a push to understand the underlying disease mechanism, which has important implications for therapeutic development. In the February issue of The CRISPR Journal, researchers from GlaxoSmithKline present a novel genome editing workflow which employs CRISPR-Cas9 editing in primary fibroblasts from IPF patients, without performing any selection or clonal expansion of the cells. This approach enables scientists to overcome many of the inherent challenges associated with primary cell editing, with the authors reporting almost 100% knock-out generation.

Contact: Klio Maratou ( (GlaxoSmithKline, United Kingdom)

3. Chromatin modulating motifs enhance diverse Cas9 orthologs in mammalian genome editing

In genome editing, the precision of even the most well-crafted nucleases (such as Cas9) is susceptible to genomic site-specific inhibition. However, in a new study published in The CRISPR Journal, scientists at MilliporeSigma have devised a strategy that utilizes a modified Cas9 to relieve this inhibition, enabling the nuclease to edit otherwise inhibitory genomic sites several-fold more efficiently. These enhancements were shown to be effective for improving other Cas9 orthologs, demonstrating a compelling strategy for improving established Cas9 nucleases as well as facilitating the exploration of novel Cas9 orthologs.

Contact: Fuqiang Chen ( (MilliporeSigma, St. Louis, Missouri)

4. The CRISPR/anti-CRISPR evolutionary arms race

The constant selective pressure exerted by phage (bacterial viruses) on bacteria, and vice versa, has led to the evolution of a wide range of defenses including the bacterial CRISPR-Cas system and potent CRISPR-Cas inhibitors known as anti-CRISPR proteins. These phage-derived inhibitors exhibit a wide range of mechanisms of activity which are detailed in a riveting review penned by anti-CRISPR expert, Karen Maxwell. This article - the cover story in the February issue of The CRISPR Journal - delves into the exciting evolutionary arms race occurring between bacteria and their phage foes.

Contact: Karen Maxwell ( (University of Toronto)

5. Interview: a rendezvous with Emmanuelle Charpentier

In 2012, French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier, in collaboration with Jennifer Doudna's lab, launched a new era in genome editing with the development of CRISPR-Cas9 as a "programmable DNA scissors." Charpentier, who is now a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, has won a string of major scientific awards for her pivotal work, including a share of the 2018 Kavli Prize in nanoscience (with Doudna and Virginijus Siksnys). In a candid interview with executive editor Dr Kevin Davies in New York late last year, Charpentier reflects on her nomadic career, the landmark events en route to her CRISPR discoveries, and her future plans.

Contact: Emmanuelle Charpentier ( (Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin)

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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