August 13, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

human germline modification

4 min read

Last week was a big one for the life sciences in that we saw the milestone of the first ever published paper reporting human embryo genetic modification (see here and here). It was one of those situations where we knew it was coming, but it was still a jolt. Not surprisingly this event sparked intense discussion and even some arguments. Below are 4 areas of contention at this moment and some additional thoughts on them. I value diverse views so please weight in with comments. A big deal …Read More

2 min read

The paper that came out Wednesday from a research group in China reporting the first genetic modification of human embryos has sparked a lot of discussion. Some concerns about this paper have surfaced. 2-day review? The paper (HT to John Borghi) was in review only from March 30-April 1 — so at most 48 hours. Really? That certainly raises a red flag of inadequate or absent peer review. That kind of “review” in the past with high-profile papers has been associated with a high risk of errors …Read More

3 min read

Rumors have been flying for months that researchers in China and possibly elsewhere were shopping papers around at high-profile journals that reported gene editing and genetic modification of human embryos. Update: apparently this paper (HT to @JohnBorghi) was only reviewed for 2 days (see image at bottom of post), raising major concerns about the depth of peer review. The rumors were right. Today, one of the Chinese teams of researchers published their paper on genetically modified (GM) human embryos in the journal Protein & Cell. …Read More

9 min read

I’m doing a series of interviews with leaders in the field on human germline modification with the first interview in this series with George Church and today’s second in this series is a conversation I had with Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer in CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Doudna is a Professor in MCB and Chemistry as well as Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences at UC Berkeley. She is also an HHMI Investigator. You can read more about the Doudna lab’s research here. …Read More