Bioluminescence, a scientific phenomenon, is caused by a chemical reaction including luciferase proteins. This protein has been utilized in sensors to emit an easily observable light once they find their target, making these sensors ideal for point-of-care testing. However, they still lack the high sensitivity required of clinical diagnostic tests.
CRISPR, a gene-editing technique, can provide that ability but it requires various steps and additional specialized equipment. This led Maarten Merkz and colleagues to use CRISPR-related proteins with a bioluminescence technique whose signal can be perceived with just a digital camera.