Within a few years of the breakthrough discovery that Crispr could be adapted to edit DNA, scientists were already using it to do everything from improve crops to cure genetic diseases in mice, and they were reporting extraordinary results.
Crispr’s rapid adoption made it obvious that owning the rights to this technology would be extremely valuable.
But who owned Crispr? It wasn’t clear. In June 2012, a team led by University of California-Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna had published the first paper describing how to turn Crispr into a DNA-editing device. Berkeley and Doudna quickly applied for a patent on it. Then, in 2013, the Broad Institute’s Feng Zhang published a paper showing how to use Crispr to edit mammalian cells, and applied for a patent on that.