The expansive roster opens up many questions about the archaic arms race between bacteria and the phages that prey on them. But it also provides scientists with a toolkit for keeping gene editing in check.
Some are using these proteins as switches to more finely control the activity of CRISPR systems in gene-editing applications for biotechnology or medicine. Others are testing whether they, or other CRISPR-stopping molecules, could serve as biosecurity counter-measures of last resort, capable of reining in some genome-edited bioweapon or out-of-control gene drive.
Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the pioneers of CRISPR gene editing, voices a question that she says is on everyone’s lips: “How do you actually use these in a way that will provide meaningful control?”
“That’s certainly where that whole anti-CRISPR field needs to go,” she says.
Read full, original post: The kill-switch for CRISPR that could make gene-editing safer