This Gene-Editing Breakthrough Could Provide Hyper-Specific Cancer Diagnoses

Ever since researchers first discovered that bacterial immune systems could be hijacked to selectively change DNA in living creatures, CRISPR gene-editing technology has been limited by the boundaries of the cell wall. CRISPR allows scientists to cut and paste little bits of DNA, swapping out even single letters of DNA to correct disease-causing genetic mutations. But—at least until now—all of that cutting and pasting has gone on inside cells. Read More >>

This Tattoo Only Becomes Visible When It Detects Early Signs of Disease

In the future, tattoos may no longer be mere decorative statements for the body, but useful biomedical devices that can alert us when something’s not quite right. Read More >>

Researchers Trying to Map Every Cell in the Human Body Release First Data Set

Science textbooks will tell you that the human body has just a couple hundred types of cells. But efforts to catalogue all the cells in the human body suggest that number is a multiple many, many times larger. Read More >>

Genetics Research is Failing Most of The World’s Population

In the late 1990s, as Esteban Burchard was finishing up his medical training at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, newspaper headlines blared warnings about what appeared to be a growing asthma epidemic. Read More >>

An Indian State Is Building a Massive, Blockchain-Based DNA Database

India’s eighth largest state is seeking to build a blockchain-based DNA database of all 50 million of its citizens. Read More >>

Scientists Edit Thousands of Genes at Once With Upgraded CRISPR

When the gene-editing technology CRISPR first made a splash back in 2012, it foretold a future in which curing diseases might simply involve snipping out problematic bits of genetic code. Of course, innovation is rarely so straightforward. Read More >>

23andMe CEO Compares DNA Tests to at-Home Pregnancy Tests, but It’s Not That Simple

In a provocative opinion published Monday in STAT, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki argues that home DNA test customers don’t need experts to help them interpret genetic health risk reports. Wojcicki compares her company’s health reports, which tell people whether they are at risk of developing certain diseases, to at-home pregnancy tests. Read More >>

dna testing
Woman Says Test Revealed Her Parents’ Fertility Doctor Was Actually Her Father

It’s become a familiar story in the age of consumer DNA testing: a person spits into a test tube to learn more about their genetic heritage, and ends up finding out they have a parent or sibling they didn’t know existed. It can be hard to keep family secrets under wraps when all it takes to reveal them is about 100 quid and a mouthful of spit. Read More >>

Estonia Is Taking a Page from 23andMe to Offer DNA-Based Health Advice to Citizens

From its perch on the Baltic Sea, the tiny former Soviet nation of Estonia has become an unlikely leader in all things digital. Its government has already embraced blockchain, declared Internet access a basic human right, and embarked on a massive undertaking to become a “digital society” where everything from identity to voting is digitized and linked together across one massive platform. Given this, it’s no surprise that this nation would be quick to embrace another up-and-coming technology: DNA testing. Read More >>

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Just Gave the Green Light to CRISPR’d Food

For nearly two years now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been quietly giving the go-ahead to a handful of crops that have been genetically engineered using CRISPR. Editing the DNA of people and animals may be controversial, but when it comes to plants, the agency has taken the stance that as long as the gene-edited plants don’t include any foreign genetic material, CRISPR’d crops aren’t subject to special regulation. Read More >>

Science Journal Retracts Paper That Sparked CRISPR Panic

Last May, a journal published results suggesting that the revolutionary gene-editing technique CRISPR might actually be quite dangerous. The paper caused a bit of turmoil in the biotech world, which is looking to CRISPR as a major disease-fighting tool of the future. But it didn’t take long for the study to attract some serious scepticism. This week, the journal that published the paper, Nature Methods, finally retracted it. Read More >>

The Scientists Who Sparked CRISPR Panic Couldn’t Reproduce Their Study Results

Last summer, a study claiming that the gene-editing technique CRISPR might actually be dangerous whipped labs around the biotech world into a frenzy. Researchers found that when they used CRISPR to cure blindness by changing DNA in mice, it resulted in not just a few but more than a thousand unintended effects on other genes. That meant that unless CRISPR could be fixed to to be more precise, the ballyhooed technology might be more a laboratory nightmare than a revolutionary tool poised to rid the world of devastating disease. Read More >>

Another Reminder That Consumer DNA Tests Are Not 100 Per Cent Accurate

Not long ago, decrypting DNA was an expensive undertaking that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Now, for £149 you can spit into a test tube and find out about your ancestry, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and even how likely you are to smell asparagus in your wee. Read More >>

Prosthetic Memories Help Brain Injury Patients with Short-Term Recall

If, at its most essential, the brain is a mass of wires and circuits, then when something goes wrong, logic suggests the brain can be re-wired to fix it. This is the theory behind a host of research that seeks to correct things like mental illness, paralysis and blindness, and impaired cognitive ability, by interfering with the brain’s wiring and firing. Read More >>