January 27, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

gene editing

3 min read

By Anna Everette “In our society, we have an addiction to vertical genetic transmission. It’s called sex and having a child who looks like you”. This was perhaps the most memorable quote from the event’s keynote speaker, Greg Simon, Director of the Biden Cancer Initiative. It also happens to highlight the most compelling reason to pursue this exciting technology. CRISPRcon took place on August 16-17 at the UC Berkeley and was meant to encourage communication about the range of ethical and social implications surrounding …Read More

2 min read

2020 Update: early NgAgo reports have been mostly discredited and there is doubt on its function as a gene-editing method. What could be better than CRISPR for gene editing? A new genetic modification technology called NgAgo has some researchers really excited. How does it compare to CRISPR? I’ll admit it that as a scientist who works on genetics and genomics, I am really enjoying the power and simplicity of CRISPR-Cas9 type technology for genome editing. We are working with it extensively in my lab. One of …Read More

5 min read

I just got back from a historic summit on human genetic modification in Washington, D.C. New genetic modification technology, termed CRISPR-Cas9, has both made genetic modification a relatively simple matter for scientists and human genetic modification much more likely in the near future. Heritable human genetic modification could prevent some rare genetic diseases so there is real potential there, but it also could open the door to serious problems such as unforeseen health consequences across generations, social justice issues, and eugenics. Both potential positives …Read More

2 min read

This is post #4 of my live blogging of the #GeneEditSummit today. It is focused on societal implications so I’m really looking forward to it. You can read posts 1-3, here, here, and here summarizing the talks and key points from the meeting so far. Annelien L. Bredenoord, University Medical Center Utrecht, chaired the session. John Harris, University of Manchester, is a philosopher and invoked Plato early in his talk. He raised 3 fallacious (in his opinion) objections to gene editing: gene editing may affect future …Read More

1 min read

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS)  summit on Human Gene Editing will begin in a few days on December 1 in Washington, D.C. This summit is in part the extension of discussions that started at a more informal meeting on CRISPR earlier this year in Napa organized by Jennifer Doudna and colleagues. The NAS meeting will bring together scientists, ethicists, and policymakers from around the world and in particular from the US, the UK, and China. These three countries are presently the hotbeds of …Read More

2 min read

After a seemingly endless period of review, the FDA has approved the genetically modified (GM) AquaBounty salmon for sale and consumption. Update: You might find my interview with George Church on CRISPR and gene modification interesting. I don’t see any particular reason to think that this GM fish as a food would pose any significant health risks to people. The fish’s hypothetical risk to the ecosystem is greatly reduced by restrictions on where it can be grown to areas away from natural waterways. Note …Read More

4 min read

Gene drive is a powerful, emerging genetic technology that can force genetic modification into an entire population. For more background on gene drive you can read my previous post. It’s a very exciting, but potentially dangerous technology with sizable possible risks. Recently I had an intriguing conversation with leading geneticist Harmit Malik on gene drive. What makes nuclease-driven gene drive so exciting for genetics? HM: It is very attractive because of its power, speed, and simplicity for genetic studies. As you know from your mouse …Read More

4 min read

Scientists studying genetics are both excited and worried about a powerful, new technology called “gene drive“. Some have been raising serious concerns about gene drive and in certain cases calling for proactive regulation, which is unusual in science. This method is so powerful because it is designed to induce genetic changes in an entire population in a relatively extremely short period of time compared to natural evolution and is self-propagating. The most talked about form today is a type powered by CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing …Read More

1 min read

In the Steve Pinker interview that I posted this morning he was highly critical of noted bioethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan. I contacted Dr. Caplan out of fairness and balance to invite him to do a post/ask for any comment, etc. for this blog. Here is what he wrote: “Steven Pinker says; “But Arthur Caplan, the country’s most famous bioethicist, argued that the parents of such infants would be so consumed with grief that they could not truly give consent—the kind of paternalistic argument that is …Read More