The immune system of a bacterium acted like a genetic pair of scissors with its own GPS. The GPS gets it to a specific location, and then the scissors snip the DNA open.
And how important is it? Well, Doudna and Charpentier are getting really famous. They have been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. They’ve picked up the $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize and the $3-million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. They just missed this year's Nobel Prize, but they might get it next year.
She has called for a “global pause” in redesigning human embryos while we think about those implications.
Most of the concern expressed to date about CRISPR involves its use in engineering human genetics, not so much other life forms. The Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth have issued a position statement opposing the use of the technology in humans.