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

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 30,782,337 — Total deaths: 957,037— Total recoveries: 21,032,539Map.
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  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  5. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

The positions of key GOP senators on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee by next week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just over six weeks out from Election Day.

The big picture: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." But Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) told Alaska Public Media, "I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

ActBlue collects a record $91 million in hours after Ginsburg's death

A makeshift memorial in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 19. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

ActBlue received a record $91.4 million in the 28 hours following Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, the Democratic donation-processing site confirmed to Axios late Saturday.

Why it matters via the New York Times: "The unprecedented outpouring shows the power of a looming Supreme Court confirmation fight to motivate Democratic donors."