January 18, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Search Results for: doudna

3 min read

A recent piece on CRISPR genetic modification in the New Yorker called The Gene Hackers or Human 2.0 by Michael Specter is striking in a number of ways. I highly recommend it. The article provides an in-depth look at CRISPR and its potential use for human editing. I like how the article brings so many viewpoints to bear on this important topic. The thing that struck me the most was the recounting of a dream, really a nightmare, that left CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna …Read More

2 min read

The House Subcommittee on Research and Technology on Tuesday held a CRISPR hearing: “The Science and Ethics of Genetically Engineered Human DNA”. At the meeting, CRISPR pioneer Dr. Jennifer Doudna gave testimony along with Dr. Victor Dzau who is the President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Dr. Elizabeth McNally who is Professor at Northwestern, and Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, a Professor and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins. A screenshot of Doudna testifying is shown above. Note that the …Read More

1 min read

With more than 250 votes cast, Jennifer Doudna is leading by a decisive margin in a poll asking who deserves the patent for use of CRISPR-Cas9 as a tool. Feng Zhang got only just over half the votes of Doudna. Another take home message from this poll is that a sizable minority–almost one in five– said neither should have a patent on this technology. Geographically the results were fairly consistent across countries, but notably in the UK the top response was, “Neither”. This poll is …Read More

9 min read

I’m doing a series of interviews with leaders in the field on human germline modification with the first interview in this series with George Church and today’s second in this series is a conversation I had with Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer in CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Doudna is a Professor in MCB and Chemistry as well as Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences at UC Berkeley. She is also an HHMI Investigator. You can read more about the Doudna lab’s research here. …Read More

Over the years I’ve done a variety of videos that ended up on YouTube. While most of these were stem cell videos, some deal with other important topics such as CRISPR of human embryos. You can see an image from a PBS interview video at left that was particularly memorable (more below). In this post I include links to these videos and short summaries of what went into them. I’m planning to include many more new videos in the future. You may also find …Read More

7 min read

Today’s post is a review of Unnatural Selection, the new Netflix science docuseries focused on CRISPR and other disruptive genetic and reproductive technologies. The show is an interesting mix of personalities and stories from patients, scientists, biohackers, and more. One patient thread is the story of a wonderful little boy named Jackson Kennedy. He wants to be an astronaut. He also happens to have the random misfortune of two mutant copies of a gene that together are causing him to lose his vision. Unnatural …Read More

4 min read

Trying to make a CRISPR baby any time soon would be a really bad idea. How bad? Last December 3rd I penned a piece for STAT News arguing for a moratorium on the heritable use of CRISPR in humans. This potential future, radical application of “gene editing” is now often colloquially referred to as “CRISPR babies”. Read that piece for the reasons behind my thinking and the risks involved in leaving the door open to using CRISPR to make people. Of course, this was …Read More

2 min read

Sometimes it seems like a bunch of stuff in one area, like with CRISPR this week, happens all of a sudden in science. A bunch of fairly high-profile gene editing pubs came out. They generated a lot of news reports. Other news in this arena popped up too, all within a few days. In vivo CRISPR editing with no detectable genome-wide off-target mutations over at Nature. In this context “no” is a really strong statement. Does the data back it up? See Figure 1a from …Read More

6 min read

Are designer babies made using CRISPR or other genetic modification technologies closer to reality today? If so, what exactly should we do about it? Researchers can use CRISPR to genetically modify just about any organism or its cells, but targeting humans is the subject of the most intense discussion including using CRISPR in the human germline for heritable “editing” or genetic modification of humans. This could in theory be done via human embryos or human germ cells with mostly existing technology. CRISPR studies on healthy human …Read More