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CRISPR weapons spread through bacterial sex could destroy deadly superbugs

By Michael Le Page

Image of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter sp. bacteria

Phanie / Alamy

Bacteria armed with a CRISPR-based weapon that infects other microbes during the bacterial equivalent of sex could help us kill dangerous antibiotic-resistant superbugs – if regulators approve their use. While the approach looks promising, its reliance on genetically modified bacteria is likely to be controversial.

“We would release genetically modified killing machines into the environment. What could go wrong? "Says David Edgell of Western University in Canada.

There are two main problems with traditional antibiotics. First, they often kill beneficial and dangerous bacteria and destroy microbiomes. This …