January 16, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: October 2015

1 min read

Media in Japan are reporting that Waseda University will shortly revoke the Ph.D. of STAP cell scientist Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子). A hat tip to blog reader Tom on this story. The thesis contained plagiarized material and problematic data as did the Nature papers on which she was first author. Those papers were retracted and now apparently her thesis will essentially find the same fate. Obokata had been given 1 year to correct her thesis, a potentially impossible task, and Japan TImes quotes a …Read More

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The voters have “spoken” and below is the list of the top 12 vote getters from the larger pool of nominees for Stem Cell Person of the Year in 2015. These are some amazing people. Look for more information, such as mini-bios, soon on some of the top finalists. There were nearly 4,700 votes in total. Now I have the tough task of picking from this dozen just one winner, who will receive the recognition as the top stem cell outside the box innovator of …Read More

2 min read

A draft agenda is now publicly available for the upcoming National Academy of Sciences (NAS) meeting on human gene editing. We now know a lot more about what to expect from this international gathering, which is called the International Summit on Human Gene Editing: A Global Discussion. The meeting will start on day 1 with context from David Baltimore as well as other scientists from around the world. There will be scientific background on the technology and information on applications. Social Implications will be …Read More

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The myostatin gene has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. The buzz surrounds the idea of inhibiting myostatin either through gene therapy or via germline human genetic modification. In this way, some hope to create people with more muscle. Myostatin, which also goes by the acronym MSTN, has an inhibitory function on muscle. Inhibit and inhibitor of muscle and you should get more muscle, right? Data backs it up. Animals including humans with spontaneous mutations in myostatin have unusual musculature including increases in …Read More

3 min read

I’ve written a new book on human genetic modification. This is my second book as the first one was Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide, which is currently the top stem cell book on Amazon. The new book is called GMO Sapiens: The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies.  You can pre-order it here at Amazon or over here at my publisher’s site. The newly updated cover is shown at right. The title was chosen as a portmanteau (mashup) of GMO and Homo sapiens. We’ve been aiming for the book to come out in …Read More

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After 5 plus years as “Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog”, we are now going by a new, broader name for the blog, The Niche. The Niche name better represents the sense that this site is a home and community including contributions by other writers and also commenters. I’m still working on a logo for The Niche. As The Niche continues to evolve look for it to include a wider range of contributors. As you may have noticed we have an increasing number of posts …Read More

3 min read

CRISPR-ful Noah’s Ark? Even as much of the discussion surrounding powerful new gene editing and cloning technologies has centered on their possible use in humans, the creation of genetically modified (GM) and cloned animals has advanced at warp speed. Some of these efforts have been for research, which is justified. But many seem profit-centered and the GMOs are intended to be products for sale as pets. Is this Noah’s ark of GM and cloned animals for pets a good idea? The new generation of …Read More

2 min read

Chimeras are one of the more controversial and fascinating areas of human stem cell and early embryo research. The notion of a chimera traces back thousands of years to creatures that were mixtures of various animals including humans in some cases. What about a real human chimera embryo? Today, chimera research has the potential to make major advances in our knowledge and even biomedical treatments such as through human organ creation within animal chimeras. However, human chimera research is intensely divisive amongst society more …Read More

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I always like to do a bunch of science reading on the weekend when it’s quiet including stem cells, but also many other areas such as brain tumors and more. Here are some TGIF science links to thought-provoking reading.           CRISPR stuff Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born? DIY CRISPR on the horizon soon? CRISPR-y pigs to yield “bacon” of human organ transplants? Stem Cells Mini-kidney, nephron organoids from stem cells give hope Still time to …Read More

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I just did a blog post today on the striking story of someone doing DIY CRISPR gene therapy on themselves. A question came to mind. How long until someone does a DIY attempt to CRISPR themselves? In the DIY gene therapy story, the person was injected with so-called “gain-of-function” viruses to try to reap health benefits. Doing DIY CRISPR on oneself could be attempted for loss- or gain-of-function of particular genes associated with certain health conditions or traits in specific cells or systemically. It …Read More