July 9, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

reverse gene drive

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

4 min read

Gene drive is a powerful, emerging genetic technology that can force genetic modification into an entire population. For more background on gene drive you can read my previous post. It’s a very exciting, but potentially dangerous technology with sizable possible risks. Recently I had an intriguing conversation with leading geneticist Harmit Malik on gene drive. What makes nuclease-driven gene drive so exciting for genetics? HM: It is very attractive because of its power, speed, and simplicity for genetic studies. As you know from your mouse …Read More