He Jiankui

CRISPR often damages human embryo chromosomes

human-embryo-modification

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 …

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Weekly reads: organoids, COVID-19, CIRM & cool new pubs

Human-intestinal-organoids-infected-with-SARS-CoV-2-white.-Credit-Joep-BeumerClevers-groupHubrecht-Institute

Organoids are providing a novel avenue into the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and novel models for drug screening. A number of new preprints on respiratory organoids shed new light in this area. They were highlighted in a Nature newsy piece, Mini organs reveal how the coronavirus ravages the body. It’s a challenge to study COVID-19 infections because just infecting …

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Heads up on Hui Yang, another potential aspiring CRISPR baby researcher

-Yui-Hang

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 …

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Perspectives on CRISPR baby guy He Jiankui (贺建奎) going to jail

Jiankui-He-who-claims-CRISPR-baby-production

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 …

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B+ on my report card on my 20 stem cell predictions for 2019

stem-cell-crystal-ball-predictions-1

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? …

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Weekend reads include stem cell pubs, cancer link to heart disease, CRISPR babies & of course emu oil

stem-cells-heart-disease-trigger-immune-response

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 …

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Calling Out Denis Rebrikov CRISPR Babies Plan

Denis-Rebrikov-1

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 …

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CRISPR baby moratorium grows likely with rising tide of support including from biotech

CRISPR-gene-edit-vs-mutation-1

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 …

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Weekend reads include herding brains, stem cells, & CRISPR

Stem-cells-the-niche-anti-aging

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 …

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Counterpoints to Lovell-Badge & Daley’s CRISPR baby rationales

CRISPR-baby

Two prominent scientists, Robin Lovell-Badge and George Daley, have been amongst the most outspoken proponents of leaving the door open to heritable human genetic modification via CRISPR. While they each have articulated their reasons in somewhat different ways at times, their core reasons arguing in favor of future heritable CRISPR appear largely the same. In …

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