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Category: crispr

Robotics | IoT

The Gene Therapy Trial Aiming to Fend Off Alzheimer’s

There’s a test for Alzheimer’s risk that genetic counselors don’t like to talk about. It’s not that they’re hiding the information—rather, it’s because Alzheimer’s has no cure. There are no consensus methods to actively prevent it, treat it, or even delay the symptoms. And losing one’s treasured memories, mind, and eventually, sense of self is […]

Controversial “Gene Drives” Just Worked in Mammals for the First Time

The phrase “gene drive” often sends a shudder down a scientist’s spine: one of awe, dread, and wonder. Tiny snippets of engineered DNA, gene drives are nuclear-grade powerhouses that utterly destroy the rules of inheritance. Rather than the classic 50/50 coin toss, a gene drive can rapidly push inheritance rates to over 95 percent, pummeling […]

CRISPR Just Got More Powerful With an “On” Switch

For all its gene-editing prowess, mechanistically CRISPR is a bit like a power tool with a broken “off” switch. Hear me out: the entire CRISPR machinery is designed in a test tube, and once constructed it’s always on. When introduced into animals or humans, CRISPR is set to roam the entire body, seeking its target […]

Gene Drives Survived a Proposed UN Ban in 2018—What’s Next?

In September 2018, a lab-based study published in Nature Biotechnology confirmed what many had long believed possible. The experiment involved cages of a few hundred mosquitoes, free to fly around and reproduce—but with a twist. Half of the male mosquitoes had their genomes modified using CRISPR-Cas9. The genome modification made little visible difference to the […]

First Successful Pig-to-Baboon Heart Transplant Heralds Human Trials

An oddity of an animal lived and thrived in a lab at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich in the past few years. On the surface, they looked like normal, healthy baboons. They hopped around their individual rooms, stuffed their mouths with food, and spent a solid amount of time relaxing and watching cartoons […]

CRISPR Babies: Stumbling Over Mankind’s Next Giant Leap

During the last weekend in November, MIT Tech Review broke a world-changing story: the birth of the first children to have undergone gene editing as embryos. The Associated Press swiftly followed with a longer report on the small Chinese clinical trial in which seven couples, all including HIV-positive men, donated eggs and sperm that Dr. […]

Welcome to the CRISPR Baby World—Here’s What You Should Know

Last week, the gene editing world was hit by news the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. In a video on YouTube, Dr. Jiankui He at Southern University of Science and Technology in China revealed that the first CRISPR babies—a pair of twin girls named Nana and Lulu—had been born. Engineered to resist HIV infections, the […]

De-Extinction Is Now a Thing—Starting With Passenger Pigeons

When Martha the passenger pigeon died in 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo, it marked the end of an era. Once the dominant species in eastern North America, passenger pigeons roamed the forests in giant flocks up to several billions of individuals for tens of thousands of years before their numbers were snuffed out. The sheer […]

Healthy Mice Born From Same-Sex Parents For the First Time

When scientists made immature human egg cells from donated blood, some speculated that human reproduction was on the verge of a massive disruption. The future is now. Last week, a team from China completely overhauled natural reproduction, using genetic engineering to make mice born from same-sex parents for the first time. Babies from two moms […]

New Study Is the Most Successful Attempt to Gene Edit Human Embryos So Far

In the quest for CRISPR supremacy, China just won another first. Last week, a team used CRISPR-Cas9 to correct a single mistaken DNA letter in over a dozen human embryos—and succeeded 16 out of 18 tries, a massive improvement over previous attempts. The high success rate is, in part, thanks to a relatively new CRISPR […]