Discovered as an adaptive immune system of prokaryotes, CRISPR–Cas provides many promising applications. DNA-cleaving Cas enzymes like Cas9 and Cas12a, are of great interest for genome editing. The specificity of these DNA nucleases is determined by RNA guides, providing great targeting adaptability. Besides this general method of programmable DNA cleavage, these nucleases have different biochemical characteristics, that can be exploited for different applications. Although Cas nucleases are highly promising, some room for improvement remains. New developments and discoveries like base editing, prime editing, and CRISPR-associated transposons might address some of these challenges.