CRISPR’S GAMBIT: Novel tactics for genetic engineering of human and bacterial cells
One of the major challenges of the 21st century is to satisfy the global demand of primary needs, such as food and health. During the last eighty years, the discovery and the manipulation of the molecule of life (DNA) has led to the generation of genetically modified organisms with improved traits for the industrial production of diverse chemicals and the optimization of the food chain. However, until recently gene editing was expensive, complicated and time-consuming. Ten years ago, a prokaryotic defense system (called CRISPR-Cas) against viruses was repurposed as a novel means to alter the genetic material of any organism of interest. The CRISPR-Cas technology has revolutionized biotechnology, providing cost-effective, rapid and efficient genetic engineering. This PhD thesis describes the development of cutting-edge tools to change the DNA of bacteria and human cells in order to further facilitate the production of chemicals and the treatment of human genetic diseases.