What is CRISPR-Cas9?
CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing tool that is creating a buzz in the science world. It is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous techniques of editing DNA and has a wide range of potential applications.
An example of what CRISPR-Cas could be used for example is working out how fish evolved fins using the fossil Tiktaalik for example.
What is a Tiktaalik?
Tiktaalik /tɪkˈtɑːlᵻk/ is a monospecific genus of extinct sarcopterygian (lobe-finned fish) from the late Devonian period, about 375 Ma (million years) ago, having many features akin to those of tetrapods (four-legged animals).
Tiktaalik has a possibility of being a representative of the evolutionary transition from fish to amphibians. It is an example from several lines of ancient sarcopterygian fish developing adaptations to the oxygen-poor shallow-water habitats of its time, environmental conditions which are thought to have led to the evolution of tetrapods.
It and similar animals may possibly be the common ancestors of the broad swath of all vertebrate terrestrial fauna: amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The first well-preserved Tiktaalik fossils were found in 2004 on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada.
Further information can be found in a three-part TV series “Your Inner Fish,”, more information about the Fossils discovery can be found here: https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/01/13/discovery-new-fossils-reveals-key-link-evolution-hind-limbs