What history tells us XLIV: The construction of the zinc finger nucleases
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In three previous contributions, I tried to show how complex and tortuous had been the historical process that led to the magic tool CRISPR-Cas9 (Morange 2015a, b, 2016). In particular, it was the result of an unexpected convergence between the study of bacterial and archaeal sequences later shown to be involved in the immunity against bacteriophages, and the slow development of highly specific endonucleases. In this second root of the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 magic tool, zinc finger nucleases and their designer, Srinivasan Chandrasegaran, had the major role. In three articles published between 1992 and 1996 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, he conceived and developed a radically new type of endonuclease (Li et al.1992; Kim and Chandrasegaran 1994; Kim et al.1996). He also described the multiple potential applications of these new tools. It was a wonderful study in synthetic biology, before the name was introduced at the...
KeywordsCRISPR-Cas9 homologous recombination meganucleases protein domains restriction enzymes synthetic biology zinc finger
I am indebted to David Marsh for his critical reading of the manuscript.