チーズとCRISPR – February 10th, 2017

The photo above was taken by Hackteria.

This workshop was a great way to understand gene editing technology in such a relatable method: Cheese makingIt was held by Marc in English and since we only partially translated it as it went on, amongst all of the commotion I had to explain several times that “We didn’t use CRISPR to make cheese. We used rennet”. But it was really nice that some of the participants took an interest in gene editing and asked many questions to clarify what they’d learned. Many thanks to Lifepatch and Hackteria for such a delicious and enlightening time. Since I had to leave early I didn’t get to eat the cheese and didn’t really get to delve into the discussion so we defiantly need to do this again.

The following is the Japanese translation of the workshop. The original English text and illustrations are by Hackteria and all of the information is available here



We are hosting you for an evening of discussions and hands-on experiments bridging topics of traditional fermentation (cheese making) and modern biotech tools of gene-editing (eg. the CRISPR-Cas9 system). Chrisper-Chäsli is an attempt to demystify the current hype around gene-editing technologies and speculate about how we can integrate them into public use, play, food and games for a better world.




Traditionally cheese is made from cow milk and curdled using rennet, an enzyme (chymosin) extracted from the cow’s stomach. Enzymes such as the chymosin or the Cas9 molecules, the latter is the current superstar in gene-editing, are nowadays produced recombinantly in other easy-to-use lifeforms. This means the gene for the enzyme has been inserted into so called “cell-factories”, like yeasts or bacteria, which then expresses and produces large quantities of it.


Grundrezept fürs Käsen – チーズを作るための基本的なレシピ


What is Milk? What is Cheese?

Milk is a pale liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for infant mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Dairy farms produced about 730 million tonnes of milk in 2011, from 260 million dairy cows. Cheese is a food derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep.




Chymosin aka FPC aka Rennet aka Lab

Rennet /ˈrɛnᵻt/ is a complex of enzymes produced in the stomachs of ruminant mammals. Chymosin, its key component, is a protease enzyme that curdles the casein in milk. This helps young mammals digest their mothers’ milk. Rennet can also be used to separate milk into solid curds for cheesemaking and liquid whey. Phytic acid, derived from unfermented soybeans, or fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC) may also be used. Vegetable rennets are also suitable for vegetarians.


レンネットは反芻動物の胃の中で生産される酵素の混合物です。その主要成分のキモシンはプロテアーゼというタンパク質分解酵素で牛乳に含まれるカゼインを固めます。若い哺乳類動物にとって母乳を消化しやすくする手助けをします。また、レンネットは牛乳をチーズ作りに必要な固形の凝乳と液体の乳清に分離するためにも使われます。発酵されていない大豆から抽出されたフィチン酸、あるいは発酵によって生産されたキモシン (FPC)も使われることがあります。植物性のレンネットは菜食者の食事に適しています。


Recombinant production of Chymosin (FPC)


遺伝子組み換えによるキモシンの生産 (FPC)

仔牛 → 仔牛の細胞サンプル → キモシンの遺伝子のコピー → キモシンの遺伝子を酵母のプラスミドに挿入 → プラスミドを酵母に導入 → 遺伝子組み換えされた酵母から得られたキモシン

From Cheese Making to CRISPR Gene Editing

Perspectives range from the small farmer interested in terroir—that elusive property associated with the specificity of space, including climate, soil, and people—and the industrialist who wishes to control all aspects of a ripening process to control product consistency.” Cheese and Microbes by Catherine W. Donnelly

This is the story of CRISPR-Cas9. It begins with the age-old battle between viruses and cellular life. Since making good cheese and yogurt depends on the health and vitality of bacterial cultures, the dairy industry needs virus-resistant bacteria. To think that it all started with a bowl of yogurt and a slab of cheese! Dr. Moineau succinctly echoes my own thoughts: “We set out the make better cheese and today we could possibly treat people.”


(チーズ作りの)捉え方はテロワール(気候と土、人間といったその空間の特異性に関わる捉えどころのない「土地」)に関心を持った農家から製品の整合性を保つために熟成の全工程をコントロールしようとする実業家にまで及ぶ。Cheese and Microbes by Catherine W. Donnelly

これはウイルスと細胞生物の間に繰り広げられる古来の戦いから始まるCRISPR-Cas9の物語。チーズとヨーグルトの品質はそのバクテリアの健康と活気に依存しているため、酪農産業はウイルスに対して抵抗性を持つバクテリアを求めている。ボールに入ったヨーグルトとチーズの塊から全てが始まるとは!Sylvain Moineauの言葉に共感を覚える「より良いチーズを作るために始めたものが今では人の治療ができるかもしれない」


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