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tracrRNA and crRNA: What’s the Difference?

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The main difference between crRNA, tracrRNA, and gRNA is that crRNA is one of the two types of RNA in CRISPR, and it matches the target DNA sequence. TracrRNA is the other type of RNA in CRISPR, and it acts as a binding scaffold for the Cas nuclease. Finally, gRNA is one of the two main parts of the CRISPR-Cas9 system in bacteria and archaea, and it recognizes target DNA

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats is what CRISPR stands for. It is one of the ways that bacteria and archaea protect themselves. This system is how bacteria and archaea protect themselves from harmful viruses. It is one of the most interesting ways to change genes successfully.

Biotechnology uses this method (CRISPR-Cas9) as a new way to change genes. It has helped biotechnology make new steps forward, especially in genetic engineering. The CRISPR-Cas9 system is made up of two main parts. They are called CRISPR-associated (Cas) nucleases and guide RNA (gRNA). Guide RNA is a specific sequence of RNA that tells Cas proteins how to cut specific DNA.

Guide RNA is made up of two different kinds of RNA. They are called CRISPR RNA (crRNA) and tracrRNA. CRISPR-associated (Cas) nucleases are endonucleases that break DNA double strands in a way that is not specific. By making double-strand breaks in the DNA of the target, bacteria and archaea can use their repair systems to turn off the DNA of viruses.

What’s crRNA?

One type of guide RNA is called crRNA or CRISPR RNA. It has a structure of 17 to 20 nucleotides. The best thing about crRNA is that it works well with the target DNA. So, crRNA matches the DNA sequence of the virus. The crRNA tells the CRISPR-Cas 9 system what it should target.

The second type of CRISPR RNA is fused to the tracrRNA sequence found in bacteria. When bacteria are exposed to a virus again, they make more crRNA. When the gene that codes for crRNA is exposed, transcription of the gene takes place. Then, the body’s defense system starts to fight the virus.

What is tracrRNA?

The second section of guideRNA or CRISPR RNA is trans-activating crRNA, also called tracrRNA. Tracer RNA is how you say it. The endonuclease Cas 9 protein binds to tracrRNA with the help of a scaffold made of tracrRNA. In those other words, tracrRNA is like a handle that helps Cas9 find the DNA it wants to cut. tracrRNA has 42 nucleotides that make up its structure. It is found together with crRNA.

A key part of the CRISPR-Cas9 tool for editing genes is making the right gRNA. So, the success of the CRISPR system and how well it can edit depend on the right sequence of gRNA. A plasmid can be used to get gRNA to be made in cells. When cloned plasmids are put into cells, the cells hosting the plasmids make gRNA. The gRNA that is made most often has 100 base pairs.

What are some common characteristics between crRNA, tracrRNA, and gRNA?

  • The RNA sequences crRNA, tracrRNA, and gRNA can be found in bacteria and archaea.
  • All of them are part of the CRISPR system.
  • crRNA and tracrRNA are put together to make gRNA.
  • They help the endonucleases find the target DNA by recognizing the DNA of the bacteriophage.
  • So, all three types of RNA are needed to tell the Cas9 nuclease to break the double strands of foreign DNA that are trying to take over.
  • The CRISPR experiment will only work if all three types of RNA are used.

What makes tracrRNA different from crRNA?

crRNA is a part of gRNA that matches the target DNA, and tracrRNA is the other part of gRNA that helps the Cas nuclease bind to the target DNA. crRNA and tracrRNA are two parts of the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Together, they make gRNA, which recognizes target DNA and tells nucleases how to cut double-strand breaks in target DNA. So, this is what makes crRNA, tracrRNA, and gRNA different.


The CRISPR-Cas9 system is a way for bacteria and archaea to protect themselves. In the field of Biotechnology, this system is used to change genes. CRISPR comprises two different RNAs: CRISPR RNA (crRNA) and enabled proper CRISPR RNA (tracrRNA). They are called guideRNA or gRNA as a whole.

This RNA recognizes the target sequences of invading pathogens and tells endonucleases how to break the target DNA’s double strands. Once double-strand breaks are created inside the foreign genetic material, an internal repair process called nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) causes mutations that make the foreign DNA useless. So, this is what makes crRNA, tracrRNA, and gRNA different.

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