an illustration of a DNA spiral
an illustration of a DNA spiral

Infographic: How CRISPR Works

Here’s how guide RNAs and the Cas9 enzyme work together to edit DNA.

Carina Storrs
Feb 28, 2014

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, CIPHOTOS

The guide RNA (gRNA) forms a complex with Cas and directs the enzyme to cleave the target DNA to which the gRNA binds through complementary sequence. The cell tries to repair the DNA break, which often results in the insertion (as shown) or deletion of nucleotides that changes the reading frame of the gene and a creates premature stop codon.

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