June 5, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Rudy Jaenisch

7 min read

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 it really a good time to be pushing CRISPR babies? The original “CRISPR baby guy” He Jiankui was recently sentenced to three years in prison for a variety of actions …Read More

3 min read

There’s much more to CRISPR-Cas9 than just gene editing and a new paper from the lab of Rudy Jaenisch in Cell highlights that in an exciting way. It reports epigenetic reversal of a Fragile X Syndrome phenotype in induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC) neurons. Fragile X Syndrome is a neurological disorder in boys resulting from CGG repeat expansions in the regulatory region of the FMR1 gene and associated epigenetic alterations including DNA methylation that tend to shut off gene expression. The new paper, Liu, et al., …Read More

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

4 min read

Researchers probing how to reprogram cells into powerful stem cells (induced pluripotent stem cells or IPSCs) and what the molecular mechanisms are behind this process have become entangled in a conflict. Of course over the years scientists including stem cell scientists have had their share of disagreements and debates in the past including heated ones, but this reprogramming clash has taken it up a notch beyond past ones and has some unique elements to it. For example, this scientific clash is unfolding largely in the public domain …Read More

3 min read

Five legends and a blogger walk into a bar together. The bartender asks the first legend “What can I get for you?” The legend orders their drink. The bartender eventually serves up drinks to all five legends and turns to the blogger, “And what can I get for you?” The blogger replies, “Do you have Wi-Fi? “…..and a beer.” I’ve now been doing my stem cell blog for about 2 1/2 years. It started as an experiment and sort of took on a life of …Read More