January 21, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

CRISPR babies

3 min read

As a researcher, is there ever enough time to get to everything that you want to read especially in newer areas like stem cells, organoids, and CRISPR, without even including non-scientific reads like Shakespeare or a new novel or something like that? Hopefully, putting together lists of recommended reads like today’s post is helpful. I wonder what Shakespeare would have thought about organoids? Media including COVID-19 updates Interesting change at Nature, which will be diving more into political coverage. Here’s their editorial on this …Read More

3 min read

Something called, “The International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing” has issued a new report on heritable human genome editing (HHGE). The Commission was convened by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.K.’s Royal Society. This post is my initial take on the summary of the lengthy report. I hope to have time to read the full report in coming weeks and it’s possible some new perspectives may emerge. Here is my thinking as …Read More

4 min read

Another week and more great papers and interesting news in the regenerative medicine sphere including COVID-19 updates, stem cells for vision, and more. Rebuilding Corneas With Stem Cells Stem cell-based regenerative medicine arguably has shown the most promise for vision loss. A PR from Massachusetts Eye and Ear says: Doctors rebuild damaged corneas using patients’ own own stem cells for first time in US. This is interesting work. The autologous transplant method is called “‘cultivated autologous limbal epithelial cell transplantation’ (CALEC).” It involves taking …Read More

6 min read

Three new studies reported in preprints all show severe DNA damage to human embryos from CRISPR a surprisingly high percentage of the time including in some cases loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Anywhere from about a quarter to half of CRISPR’d embryos exhibited major genome damage. As readers of The Niche know, I never was a fan of the idea of doing CRISPR on human embryos for reproductive use, although I have been supportive of limited, thoughtful in vitro gene-editing studies on human embryos. The …Read More

7 min read

Making a CRISPR baby is a controversial idea to even propose now for many reasons, yet even after He Jiankui’s train wreck some people have seemed eager to try it including apparently a scientist whose name perhaps many readers here are not so familiar with in this context: Professor Hui Yang. ‘CRISPR baby guys’ Is it really a good time to be pushing CRISPR babies? The original “CRISPR baby guy” He Jiankui was recently sentenced to three years in prison for a variety of actions …Read More

5 min read

Every year in December and early January I do a post predicting some key events for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field for the upcoming year and today’s post contains my predictions for 2020. You can see my past 2019 predictions along with my grades for them here. I gave myself a B+ for 2019. What grade will I get for 2020? I don’t yet of course, but I often can’t resist making positive predictions even if they are relatively high risk in …Read More

4 min read

Scientist He Jiankui(贺建奎) has been sentenced to 3 years in prison by Chinese authorities. Two collaborators also will go to jail. A piece in Science by Dennis Normile on the sentencing of He Jiankui ID’d the other two: “His collaborators were identified as Zhang Renli, of a medical institution in Guangdong province, and Qin Jinzhou, from a Shenzhen medical institution.” Is this jail term an appropriate or even positive outcome here all things considered? Over the top? Dr. He became known colloquially as “the CRISPR baby guy” …Read More

6 min read

Last year around this time I took my annual plunge to make 20 predictions for the coming year for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field. I even made a crystal ball graphic to highlight the complexity of the stem cell ecosystem into which these predictions were embedded (see image) for 2019. How’d I do? Below I grade my 20 predictions for this year. You can in addition see my grading of my 2018 predictions here. In the next week or so I’ll also …Read More

2 min read

Here in the U.S. we just had our big Thanksgiving holiday, but science goes, stem cells keep growing and needing attention, and it’s another weekend chance to catch up on our paper reading. Here’s this weekend edition of recommended reads including news items and pubs. From Cell Stem Cell: Single-Cell Transcriptome Analysis of Uniparental Embryos Reveals Parent-of-Origin Effects on Human Preimplantation Development. and another there on stem cell machinery in cancer: Humanized Stem Cell Models of Pediatric Medulloblastoma Reveal an Oct4/mTOR Axis that Promotes Malignancy. …Read More

4 min read

A Russian Scientist named Denis Rebrikov told Nature and then other media including NPR last week that he plans to make CRISPR babies. In other words, babies with heritable genetic modifications. I don’t doubt that Rebrikov (pictured in ResearchGate image) might want to do this nor that he might try it, but rather I’m writing this post to point out how his statements including about why it’d supposedly be a good idea don’t withstand much scrutiny. What has Rebrikov said about his plan and …Read More