Prokaryotes have developed an adaptive immune system called Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats ( #CRISPR ) to combat attacks by foreign mobile genetic elements (MGEs) such as plasmids and phages. In the past decade, the widely characterized CRISPR-Cas9 enzyme has been redesigned to trigger a genome editing revolution. Class II type V CRISPR-Cas12a is a new RNA guided endonuclease that has been recently harnessed as an alternative genome editing tool, which is emerging as a powerful molecular scissor to consider in the genome editing application landscape. In this review, we aim to provide a mechanistic insight into the working mechanism of Cas12a, comparing it with Cas9, and eventually provide an overview of its current applications in genome editing and biotechnology applications.
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