Francis Mojica delivered a keynote lecture on the origins of CRISPR systems and their applications at the recent ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris

Francis Mojica, microbiologist from the University of Alicante (Spain) who discovered the CRISPR arrays in archaea, coined the name of CRISPR and first proposed that this was a prokaryote acquired immune defense system.

The recent ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris had the pleasure to have Francisco Juan Martínez Mojica (Francis Mojica), microbiologist from the University of Alicante (Spain), delivering the first keynote lecture of the conference. In his very interesting talk, Francis Mojica reviewed the origins of the CRISPR systems in prokaryotes, as part of an ancient acquired immune defense system, and their recent conversion into powerful genome editing tools. He is convinced that we are just beginning to understand the unexpected complexity of bacterial immune systems. CRISPR could be just one of many, yet to be identified and described. There is a great future ahead in the field of Molecular Microbiology for discovering new CRISPR and CRISPR-like systems that could be transformed and adapted for the efficient and safe manipulation of genomes, including the human genome.

Author: Lluis

Lluis Montoliu (Barcelona, Spain, 1963) graduated in Biological Sciences (1986) and obtained his PhD in Molecular Genetics (1990) at the University of Barcelona. Research Scientist of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB), in Madrid (Spain) since 1997, after two postdoctoral periods in Heidelberg (German Cancer Research Center, 1991-1995) and Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona, 1995-96). Since 2007 appointed researcher at the Spanish Research Initiative on Rare Diseases (CIBERER-ISCIII) where he is now serving at its Steering Committee. Since 1998 he is Honorary Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid and, since 2007, Director of the Spanish node of the European Mouse Mutant Archive (EMMA/INFRAFRONTIER) Spanish node. Including his PhD, from 1986, where he worked in plant molecular genetics, in maize, he has been always working on the genetic modification of organisms (GMOs). Since 1991 he has been working in several scientific projects within the field of animal transgenesis. At the CNB he leads a research team interested in basic science, to understand the mechanisms controlling gene expression and organization in mammalian genomes, and in applied science, generating animal models for the study of human rare diseases, such as albinism. He has pioneered the use of in vivo genome-editing CRISPR approaches in Spain for the functional analysis of the non-coding genome. He is the current President of the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR) and serves at the boards of additional societies (IFPCS, IMGS, ACB). In 2006, he founded the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) for which he has served as President since inception to 2014. He is a member of the CSIC Ethics Committee and the Ethics Panel of ERC in Brussels. In addition to research he is also interested in bioethics, education and popular science.

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