January 22, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Jennifer Doudna

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

Sometimes it seems like a bunch of stuff in one area, like with CRISPR this week, happens all of a sudden in science. A bunch of fairly high-profile gene editing pubs came out. They generated a lot of news reports. Other news in this arena popped up too, all within a few days. In vivo CRISPR editing with no detectable genome-wide off-target mutations over at Nature. In this context “no” is a really strong statement. Does the data back it up? See Figure 1a from …Read More

4 min read

Some months back a USPTO court issued a ruling that most interpreted as meaning the Broad Institute had won the so-called ‘CRISPR patent battle’ in the U.S. and that UC Berkeley, Jennifer Doudna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier had lost. Now this week Berkeley has appealed that ruling. It seems the odds are against Berkeley prevailing in its appeal, but frankly Berkeley deserves the main CRISPR patent and Broad doesn’t. Interestingly, the European Patent Office apparently agrees with this view and disagrees with the USPTO. Update: note that the Berkeley patent …Read More

2 min read

Eric Lander’s recent piece in Cell on The Heroes of CRISPR has sparked strong reactions that are mostly critical and have argued that the article is biased. I’m going to weigh in with my own thoughts at some point later, but I thought it would be interesting to try a word cloud-based text mining of the Lander piece. See above. Word clouds indicate which words are used the most by the relative size of the letters of the words. Common words such as “the”, “experiment”, etc. are filtered …Read More

10 min read

The patent dispute on CRISPR between UC/Jennifer Doudna and The Broad/Feng Zhang has been the subject of major attention including in a recent piece on Stanford Center for Law & Biosciences Blog. There is a lot of confusion over this important CRISPR dispute so I turned to a patent expert for their take on this via an interview below. The interview with this anonymous expert provides some helpful, informed assessments on the CRISPR patent dispute including fresh perspectives. This person has different views than those expressed in …Read More

2 min read

Science blogging is somewhat of a communal exercise. At least, it should be and cool biomed blogs are a great community. One of the most invigorating aspects of blogging is finding new blogs that are worthwhile and edgy. Below I list some of my recommendations for blogs that you might not be familiar with, but that you should definitely check out. DrugMonkey Blog. A go-to source for perspectives and a reality check on NIH funding, careers, and sometimes a bit about drug science. Whoever …Read More

2 min read

A lot has been going on in the CRISPR world. Here are some key CRISPR updates. Editas has filed the paperwork on the road to going public as a company. Such an IPO, should it come to fruition, could raise billions of dollars. Will the other CRISPR companies like Caribou and CRISPR Therapeutics follow suit? Simplistically, it seems like the first CRISPR IPO could get the lion’s share of investor money, but then there’s the patent thing hanging over all of this (see below) Patent …Read More

3 min read

Now we hear from the scientists on the front lines of CRISPR, covered in this post #2 of the Human Gene Editing Meeting. You can read Post #1 here. Jennifer Doudna starts off the big human gene editing science session on the current state of the human gene editing science and CRISPR. She gave an overview of how this session will be organized including a panel discussion and questions from audience. Maria Jasin, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was up next. She gave a …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