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Problem Addressed

Stimuli-responsive materials are highly attractive in medicine and tissue engineering, due to their ability to modulate their chemical and mechanical properties in response to environmental cues. In particular, hydrogels that respond to DNA in the environment have emerged as useful biomaterials, such as for detection of pathogens or disease-causing mutations. However, current DNA-responsive hydrogels are not easily adaptable for detection of new nucleotide sequences, and require high concentrations of the DNA stimulus, greatly constraining the programmability of these biomaterials. To address these issues, the inventors have utilized the CRISPR-Cas system to develop a highly programmable and versatile DNA-responsive hydrogel.