US Trial Finds CRISPR-Edited Cells Are Safe in Cancer Patients

For years, scientists have hoped to use the gene-editing technology CRISPR to help treat all sorts of diseases, including cancer. Now for the first time in the US, researchers say they’ve shown that CRISPR-edited immune cells can be safely given to cancer patients and survive for up to nine months – a finding that may signal CRISPR’s future as part of an emerging cancer treatment known as immunotherapy. Read More >>

‘Magic Mushroom’ Chemical Harvested From Bacteria For the First Time

New research shows that psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that puts the magic in magic mushrooms – can be made by bioengineered bacteria, highlighting a potential new way of mass-producing the valued chemical. Read More >>

Gene-Editing Record Smashed With Over 13,000 Changes Made to a Single Human Cell

Using a modified version of CRISPR, a team of geneticists has successfully triggered 13,200 genetic changes to a single human cell. That’s a new record, by a long shot. This sweeping new editing process could eventually be used to strip DNA of useless or dangerous genetic information – or create entirely new kinds of life. Read More >>

Chinese Scientist Responsible for Gene-Edited Babies Has Reportedly Gone Missing

The current whereabouts of He Jiankui—the scientist who claims to have engineered the world’s first genetically modified human babies—is unknown. Rumours are now circulating that he’s been detained by the Chinese government. Read More >>

GMO Labels Actually Make People Less Afraid of GMOs, Study Finds

A new study seems to provide an interesting wrinkle in the debate over whether foods containing genetically engineered ingredients (otherwise known as either GE or GMO foods) should be labelled as such. It turns out that people living in Vermont, US actually became less distrustful of GMOs following a temporary state law that mandated a simple labelling system, especially when compared to people living in the rest of the country, according to a paper published Wednesday in Science Advances. Read More >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

This Rogue Company Wants People to Inject Themselves With Untested Drugs 

Aaron Traywick paced the stage like a caged lion. In a few minutes, he would drop trou in front of an audience and thrust a needle containing a highly experimental herpes treatment into his left thigh. For now, though, he stood alone in the spotlight, his slight frame cast in harsh silhouette and face fixed in meditative concern. He had been wearing the same oversized navy suit with a red fabric flower on the lapel for the past three days. Read More >>

Watch This Guy Inject Himself With an Untested Herpes ‘Cure’

Last Sunday at the BodyHacking Con in Austin, Aaron Traywick joined the rarefied ranks of those who have experimented on themselves in the name of science. Only Traywick is not a scientist—he is the CEO of Ascendance Biomedical, a rogue biotech firm working with biohackers to develop treatments outside of FDA oversight and regulation. Read More >>

The UK is Officially Letting Doctors Create a 3-Parent Baby

The modern era of the so-called “three-parent baby” has officially kicked off, and it will begin here, in the UK. Read More >>

The First US Human CRISPR Trials Could Start Any Day Now

The first U.S. human trial using CRISPR to treat disease could kick off any day now. The trials, led by the University of Pennsylvania, will use the gene-editing tool to modify immune cells, prompting them to attack three different types of cancer. Read More >>

Why CRISPR-Edited Food May Be in US Supermarkets Sooner Than You Think

In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light to a version of the plant Camelina sativa, an important oilseed crop that had been genetically engineered using CRISPR to produce enhanced omega-3 oil. What was interesting about this approval was that the USDA did not ask that the inventors of the plant endure the usual regulatory hoops required to sell biotech crops. The next month, a drought-tolerant soybean variety developed with CRISPR also got a quick pass from the USDA. Read More >>