Who or what is SHERLOCK?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the most commonly used method for detecting nucleic acids. However, PCR requires specialized and expensive equipment, as well as specially trained personnel. Recently, new innovative diagnostic methods have been developed to detect nucleic acids using the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) gene editing technology. Objective This manuscript reviews the newly emerging diag-nostic methods that exploit the CRISPR technology. Results The programmable endonuclease properties of CRISPR have been harnessed for use in diagnostic testing. Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter un-LOCKing (SHERLOCK) and DNA Endonuclease Targeted CRISPR Trans Reporter (DETECTR) are diagnostic tools that can be used to detect specific RNA/DNA at low attomolar concentrations. Heating Unextracted Diagnostic Samples to Obliterate Nuclease (HUDSON), is a process of heat and chemical reduction that allows for direct detection of nucleotides in body fluids. HUDSON and SHERLOCK can be combined to detect RNA/DNA directly from urine, saliva, serum, plasma, and whole blood with limited sample preparation or equipment with results in 1 to 2 hours. In addition, a lateral flow readout has been developed to facilitate assay detection. Conclusions: Potential uses of this emerging technology are numerous due to the analytical sensitivity and specificity, simplicity, speed, and flexibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-204
Number of pages4
JournalElectronic Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Nucleic acid
  • PCR


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