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UC Berkeley announced Tuesday it received a patent for a single-molecule guide RNA that can be used with the Cas-9 enzyme by the gene-editing tool CRISPR in plants, bacteria and mammalian cells.

Why it matters: Discovering new methods of making CRISPR's gene editing more precise are key to its future success in modifying crops and treating diseases. But, there's also a race among institutions — especially between UC and the Broad Institute — to own CRISPR patents that are potentially worth billions, per Reuters.

Background: CRISPR can use different enzymes, most often Cas9, to target specific genes for editing, but there remain safety concerns, as it's been shown to sometimes cause unwanted deletions, edit the wrong genes or move genes around. Guide RNAs can be used to locate the proper DNA sequence that needs to be cut.

By the numbers: This is UC Berkeley's third CRISPR patent and they expect a fourth to be issued soon.

"This is another foundational patent that reflects the significant contribution that [Jennifer] Doudna, [Emmanuelle] Charpentier, and their team brought to the field," Eldora Ellison, lead patent strategist on CRISPR matters for UCB, tells Axios.

Details, per Ellison:

  • U.S. Patent Number 10,227,611, covers single-molecule guide RNAs that can be used in every cell type, not only plants and bacteria but also mammalian ones.
  • It's co-owned by the University of California, the University of Vienna and Charpentier.
  • This patent was not involved in the previous interference proceeding before the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Go deeper: UC Berkeley team awarded second CRISPR-Cas9 patent

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden briefing calls for 20,000 child migrant beds

President Biden, during a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

FBI director: Jan. 6 Capitol attack was domestic terrorism

The FBI views the Jan. 6 Capitol siege as an act of domestic terrorism, director Christopher Wray testified in his opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The FBI's designation of the attack as domestic terrorism puts the perpetrators "on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists," Wray said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan for Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) at a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.