Some of biology's best technologies come from unexpected places. The green fluorescent protein that lit up biology with its ability to track proteins and gene expression in cells was borrowed from a jellyfish. A heat-stable enzyme from a bacterium often found in hot springs made the polymerase chain reaction method practical, facilitating the easy copying of DNA fragments needed for a myriad of applications, including the DNA fingerprinting used so widely to identify people. Now, thanks in part to inspiration that struck during a lunchtime discussion, proteins from a feared plant pest are poised to make genome engineering, the large-scale, directed manipulation of genes, routine for researchers studying a variety of organisms, including yeast and humans.
Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL, dromius