May 30, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

CRISPR babies

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

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

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

Every so often here on The Niche I list science and news articles worth a look as “weekend reads”. Below is my list for this weekend. Enjoy! The first article doesn’t really fit into the other main categories, but the title “herding brains” caught my eye. Stem Cells Stem cells and regenerative capacity in aging brain, article in Cell. Quiescence Modulates Stem Cell Maintenance and Regenerative Capacity in the Aging Brain. Does this kind of research have relevance to humans? See interesting, complex graphical abstract …Read More