science
New Study Finds Unintended Consequences of CRISPR Gene Editing

Scientists and biotechnologists have heralded the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system as revolutionary way to edit DNA, like scissors and a glue stick for the genome. But a new study found some potentially harmful unintended effects. Read More >>

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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 >>

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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 >>

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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 >>

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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 >>

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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 >>

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Ancient Human Groups Mated With the Mysterious Denisovans At Least Twice

Genetic analysis suggests two populations of Denisovans—an extinct group of hominids closely related to Neanderthals—existed outside of Africa during the Pleistocene, and that both of these populations interacted and interbred with anatomically modern humans. Read More >>

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How Editing RNA—Not DNA—Could Cure Disease in the Future

DNA is the code of life, and so advances that allow us to edit that code have unlocked vast potential, from simply editing away the buggy code of disease, to engineering animals that don’t spread illness, to, maybe one day in a distant future, creating so-called designer babies. But editing another essential molecular component of our biology—RNA, the messenger used by cells to turns DNA instructions into proteins—also holds great promise. Read More >>

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These Glowing, Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Could Fight Malaria Instead of Spreading It

Genetic engineering, researchers hope, will fight disease both by altering the genes of people and by changing the genes of critters known to pass diseases on to us. Read More >>

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After a Few Hiccups, All Bets Are on CRISPR Again 

A research technician works to clone DNA in a lab.A letter published in a scientific journal last year challenged the safety of promising gene-editing tool CRISPR, unnerving researchers and investors alike. Now, a smattering of recent studies have redeemed the technology by showing how CRISPR can more precisely target disease. Read More >>

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CRISPR Isn’t Just for Gene Editing Anymore

Five years ago, when researchers first discovered that bacterial immune systems could be hijacked to edit DNA in living creatures, it was big news. The technology, called CRISPR, allowed scientists to more easily than ever cut and paste all those As, Cs, Ts, and Gs that make up the base pairs of DNA and encode the world’s living things. With CRISPR, scientists could use genetic engineering to tackle problems from disease to famine. Read More >>

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CRISPR’s Pioneers Find a Way to Use It as a Glowing Virus Detector

CRISPR is at this point well-known for its powerful ability to genetically engineer DNA, but more and more often scientists are turning to CRISPR for other tasks as well. Read More >>

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Scientists Made a ‘Black Box’ for Recording Data From Human Cells

The human body is made up of trillions and trillions cells. And of those trillions of cells, there are hundreds of different types, each with its own specific function, from forming your tissue and organs to reproduction and fighting off infections. They provide structure for the body, take in nutrients, and create energy. Basically, it’s all about the cell. Read More >>

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New Study Calms Fears That CRISPR Could Trigger Unintended Gene Mutations

Last summer, a letter appeared in a scientific journal that challenged how truly “revolutionary” and world-changing CRISPR gene-editing technology really might be. Researchers found that when they used CRISPR to cure blindness in mice, it had resulted in not just a few but more than a thousand unintended effects. Those unintended changes to DNA, they found, were not detectable using common methods for checking for off-target effects. This, the authors wrote, meant that CRISPR needed significant fine-tuning before it was ready to cure disease in people. Stocks tumbled. The scientific community freaked out. Read More >>

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China Has Already Gene-Edited 86 People With CRISPR

While the US's first planned clinical trials of CRISPR gene editing in people are about to kick off. China has been racing ahead, having already used the gene-altering tool to change the DNA of dozens of people in several clinical trials. Read More >>