A 'CRISPR' Understanding at USU's Science Unwrapped Friday, Feb. 19

A revolutionary tool in gene editing called ‘CRISPR’ is garnering news headlines, but what is it?

CRISPR, pronounced “crisper,” is an acronym for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.”

Huh? What does THAT mean?

Utah State University biochemist Ryan Jackson presents “A ‘CRISPR’ Understanding” Friday, Feb. 19, to explain this amazing technology, how it works and how it’s changing our world at USU’s Science Unwrapped. His online presentation begins at 7 p.m. MST via Zoom.

All ages are welcome to tune in to the webinar on Science Unwrapped’s website. Hosted by USU’s College of Science, the online event also features a live, question-and-answer session following Jackson’s talk, along with links to video learning activities.

“CRISPR is a family of DNA sequences found in the genomes of such organisms as bacteria and archaea,” says Jackson, assistant professor in USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “We think of it as something new, but would it surprise you to learn that CRISPR is naturally all around us and has been for eons?”

Jackson will guide Science Unwrapped viewers through CRISPR’s discovery, its biology, how the technology is being used in such areas as synthetic biology and disease diagnostics, along with the ethics surrounding its use.

An Aggie alum, Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from USU in 2005, and completed a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Utah State in 2012. He was a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Search Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow at Montana State University from 2014-2016, and joined Utah State’s faculty in 2016.

Jackson’s presentation is part of Science Unwrapped’s 2020-21 “Brave New World” series, which kicked off in September 2020 and continues through April 2021. On Friday, March 19, USU political science professor Jeannie Johnson, director of USU’s Center for Anticipatory Intelligence, presents “The Dark Side of Dataveillance.” On Friday, April 16, USU physiologist and medical ethicist Andy Anderson, principal lecturer in USU’s Department of Biology, presents, “A Time to Die.”

For more information, visit the Science Unwrapped website or view the ‘Science Unwrapped at USU’ Facebook and Twitter (@SciUnwrappedUSU).

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