I remember when CRISPR came out in 2012, I told myself I’d read the paper and understand it soon. Well, I didn’t read it that day. Nor the next day. And somehow the exciting news of a groundbreaking scientific advancement mutated into an anxiety-provoking empty checkbox on my to-do list. This further developed into a strange mental block: I convinced myself I hadn’t read it because it was too difficult for me to understand. In other words, I developed a very specific, CRISPR-themed imposter syndrome. When someone mentioned CRISPR, which was often, I felt twinges of fear and embarrassment, hoping no one would ask my opinion on any specifics.
I am now a 4th year MD/PhD student in the 2nd year of my Molecular Cell Biology program, and I think this has gone on quite long enough. So I enrolled in a genome engineering class. I’m finally committed to learning this — and learning it properly!
We met for the first time last week, and within one hour I officially understood the basics of CRISPR-Cas9.
I’m drawing what I’m learning and posting it here on my blog, so you may accompany me on this journey if you wish! If you find my illustrations useful, feel absolutely free to share them with students or peers.
And so, here is Genome Engineering Series, Episode 1: CRISPR-Cas9:
(Click to open full-size media file for download.)
And here are some slightly more printer/PowerPoint-friendly versions, if anyone has need of such things:
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Click for PNG file with transparent background.