A CRISPR Pioneer Looks Back As First Gene-Editing Therapy Is Approved

In 2007, Luciano Marraffini struck out on what was then a scientifically lonely path: to understand CRISPR, which had been discovered in bacteria only about a decade before. Seventeen years later, we all know what CRISPR is: a revolution in medicine--a once-in-a-lifetime scientific breakthrough--the most promising tool for gene therapy ever discovered. But back then, “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” (CRISPR) were merely curious genetic fragments with no known purpose. “When I started, there was nothing that indicated that it was going to one day help people to cure genetic diseases,” Marraffini recalls.

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