TGIF weekend reads: senolytics, new CRISPR, stem cells, & 3 wacky things

Over the weekends I try to catch up on more diverse reading and sometimes come up with a list of stuff I want to get to during this time, but I also put together weekend reads usually on Fridays as a kind of TGIF on The Niche for the wider audience here.

So here’s the weekend reads for this Friday the 13th including some wacky stuff at the end.

Anti-Aging efforts got some play in the media including this LA Times piece. Here’s the original new paper, entitled, “Senolytics improve physical function and increase lifespan in old age”. What do you think of it? What about the term “senolytics”? Seems a bit aspirational to me. I wonder what would happen if we could greatly reduce the number of senescent cells in humans? For those of us up there in years, maybe we’d fall apart. Isn’t there some old joke about removing the rust from an old car makes it fall apart as that was the only thing holding it together?

Mulas, et al. Development, 2017, Disordering of lineage markers in absence of Oct4
Mulas, et al. Development, 2017, Disordering of lineage markers in absence of Oct4

CRISPR turns cancer against itself? Here’s a SciAm piece by Sharon Begley on the news. As a cancer & CRISPR researcher and cancer survivor, I’m interested in this kind of news, but this seems to have a long road ahead potentially.

CRISPR gene drive doesn’t work so well in mice, reports Ewen Callaway regarding a bioRxiv preprint from work by UCSD’s Kimberly Cooper. I wonder if this is good news or bad? Gene drives are really powerful and dangerous tools that could do a lot of harm in nature or in humans, but have theoretical potential for good too. In this work apparently the gene drive also only worked in female mice.

And CRISPR gene editing in sperm? Is that possible? Perhaps. Here’s a media piece on this development by Frank Swain and Michael Le Page. The work was presented at a meeting and isn’t published yet it seems. It’s hard to imagine with its compacted chromatin that a sperm could easily be gene edited.

Let’s hear it for the podocytes. Here’s a report of a methods paper where you can make lots of these cool cells.

Some stem cell articles

More wacky kind of stuff

Molecular ‘barcodes’ reveal lost whale hunts (the science isn’t wacky, but I thought the title of this was unusual).

World’s most cloned dog ‘Miracle Milly’ has been copied 49 times Well, I feel like there’s some pun one could make here. Any ideas? Hot dog?

and finally…

This from Dan Vergano over at BuzzFeed Science: An 11-Year-Old Got Most Of Her Genes From Her Dad, And Almost None From Her Mom and here’s the research pub.