Gene Therapy

Researchers at Western University have developed a new way to deliver CRISPR to specific bacteria

Posted on 15 September 2019

Researchers at Western University have developed a new way to deliver the DNA-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 into specific microorganisms in the lab, by using the bacteria’s natural ability to replicate – called bacterial conjugation – to deliver CRISPR. This provides a way to efficiently launch a targeted attack on specific bacteria.

This study opens up the possibility of using CRISPR to alter the makeup of the human microbiome in a way that could be personalised and specific from person to person. It also presents a potential alternative to traditional antibiotics to kill bacteria like Staph A or E. coli.

It has the potential for development of next generation antimicrobial agents that would be effective even for bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics. This technology could also be used to help ‘good’ bacteria produce compounds to treat diseases caused by protein deficiencies.

Bogumil Karas, Assistant Professor at Western.


  1. Hamilton, T.A., Pellegrino, G.M., Therrien, J.A. et al. Efficient inter-species conjugative transfer of a CRISPR nuclease for targeted bacterial killing. Nat Commun 10, 4544 (2019).
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