Deciphering and shaping bacterial diversity through CRISPR

Alexandra E. Briner, Rodolphe Barrangou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Phage and bacteria have engaged in a sustainable arms race, a seemingly endless conflict, since the beginning of time. CRISPR-Cas systems shape and generate environmental diversity through evolution of both predator and prey genomes. Indeed, the gain or loss of CRISPR-mediated immunity and genome maintenance can spark speciation in bacteria. Alternatively, turning CRISPR-Cas on the host by targeting chromosomal DNA has led to the development of next-generation smart antimicrobials and genetic screening and engineering technologies. Although the ability to target and cleave DNA in a sequence-specific manner is a powerful mechanism utilized by bacteria to fend off phage, plasmids, and potentially harmful nucleic acids, it is also a promising technology for programmable targeting of undesirable bacteria in microbiome consortia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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