Photo of smiling female undergraduate student Amberly Vu.
2021 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Mentor: Hunter Fraser (Biology)

“Next-Generation Genome Writing with Diverse Bacterial Retrons”

CRISPR has revolutionized genome editing, but it remains challenging to write long sequences into the genome efficiently. To address this, the Fraser Lab has developed CRISPEY, a CRISPR-based technology that enables genome writing that is both high-throughput and precise. CRISPEY uses retrons, which are bacterial genetic elements that can reverse transcribe RNA into multicopy single-stranded DNA (msDNA). Amberly is improving CRISPEY by testing the ability of a collection of natural retrons from multiple species to produce msDNA as donor DNA, facilitating enhanced homology-directed repair (HDR) and allowing long DNA sequences to be written into the genome.