Novel CRISPR-Cas14 – the smallest CRISPR system discovered

Discovery of new CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short repeats) system in archea organisms provides new tool for genetic research.

The most popular CRIPSR-Cas9 has many counterparts derived from various organisms. A new, strange member of this family is CRISPR-Cas14.

In contrast to Cas9 system, the Cas14 is approximately two-times smaller, as its proteins consist of 400-700 amino acids. Moreover, analysis of the system presence in various organism found 38 independently evolved variants.

CRISPR-Cas14 was successfully tested for detection of variants in sequence (single nucleotide polymorphism – SNP): a change of one nucleotide in HERC2 gene, leading to blue eye color, was detected in saliva of blue-eyed individuals, but brown-eyed individuals.

More: “Programmed DNA destruction by miniature CRISPR-Cas14 enzymes”, L. Harrington et al., 2018, doi:10.1126/science.aav4294.