Diversity and evolution of class 2 CRISPR-Cas systems

Sergey Shmakov, Aaron Smargon, David Scott, David Cox, Neena Pyzocha, Winston Yan, Omar O. Abudayyeh, Jonathan S. Gootenberg, Kira S. Makarova, Yuri I. Wolf, Konstantin Severinov, Feng Zhang, Eugene V. Koonin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

664 Scopus citations


Class 2 CRISPR-Cas systems are characterized by effector modules that consist of a single multidomain protein, such as Cas9 or Cpf1. We designed a computational pipeline for the discovery of novel class 2 variants and used it to identify six new CRISPR-Cas subtypes. The diverse properties of these new systems provide potential for the development of versatile tools for genome editing and regulation. In this Analysis article, we present a comprehensive census of class 2 types and class 2 subtypes in complete and draft bacterial and archaeal genomes, outline evolutionary scenarios for the independent origin of different class 2 CRISPR-Cas systems from mobile genetic elements, and propose an amended classification and nomenclature of CRISPR-Cas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 13 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases


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