They crafted molecules that could enter a microbe and precisely snip its DNA at a location of the researchers’ choosing.
In January 2013, the scientists went one step further: They cut out a particular piece of DNA in human cells and replaced it with another one.
Writing last year in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, Motoko Araki and Tetsuya Ishii of Hokkaido University in Japan predicted that doctors will be able to use CRISPR to alter the genes of human embryos "in the immediate future."
Thanks to the speed of CRISPR research, the accolades have come quickly. Last year MIT Technology Review called CRISPR "the biggest biotech discovery of the century."