September 25, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Gene Drive

3 min read

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 …Read More

1 min read

After the NY Times published an article on June 8th on the exciting, controversial technology called gene drive that can alter the genome of an entire species, strangely the article’s headline changed at least twice. The article was focused on a National Academy panel studying this technology. The headline gradually evolved to become much more positive in tone. You can see this evolution below in chronological order from top to bottom. The first headline sounded like there wasn’t much support, while by the time the third title for …Read More

3 min read

There’s a questionable notion floating around out there in the numerous discussions over heritable human genetic modification. This idea goes that if germline human gene editing goes awry for any number of reasons, scientists could simply reverse it by applying genetics again. The reversal notion does not fit with the reality of science as we know them today and could be harmful in giving false reassurance of the safety of genome modification. To put it another way, you can’t retract a designer baby or …Read More

3 min read

New genetic modification technology such as CRISPR-Cas9 has opened the door to transformative biological research, but it has also set the table for some novel kinds of technological problems for which we aren’t at all prepared including one that I call the “gene spill”. The striking potential upsides to CRISPR paired with some of the serious risks such as gene spills leave us with dilemmas over things like gene spills. We want to advance the technology, but how do we lower risks? We should …Read More