science
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 >>

science
Should People Be Banned From Genetically Engineering Themselves?

In the past few months, the possibility of do-it-yourself genetic engineering has exited the realm of the purely hypothetical. At a conference last autumn, a well-known biohacker injected himself with a gene to promote muscle growth. Not long after, a 27-year-old software engineer injected himself with an unproven gene therapy for HIV while streaming on Facebook. More DIY attempts at human genetic modification are sure to follow. Read More >>

science
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 >>

science
How DNA Testing Botched My Family’s Heritage, And Probably Yours, Too

My grandfather was caramel-skinned with black eyes and thick, dark hair, and until he discovered that he was adopted, he had no reason to suspect that he was not the son of two poor Mexicans as he’d always been told. When he found his adoption papers, according to family lore, he pestered the nuns at the Dallas, Texas orphanage where he had lived as an infant for the name of his birth mother. Name in hand, at 10 years old, he hopped a bus to Pennsylvania, met his birth mother, and found out that he was actually Syrian. Read More >>

science
Microsoft Wants to Use Artificial Intelligence to Make CRISPR More Accurate

The gene-editing technology CRISPR could very well one day rid the world of its most devastating diseases, allowing us to simply edit away the genetic code responsible for an illness. One of the things standing in the way of turning that fantasy into reality, though, is the problem of off-target effects. Now Microsoft is hoping to use artificial intelligence to fix this problem. Read More >>

privacy
Ancestry Made Its Privacy Policy More Transparent, but It Still Claims to Own Your DNA

When you spit in a test tube in in hopes of finding out about your ancestry, you’re giving companies like AncestryDNA access to a whole lot of very intimate details about what makes you, you. But how consumer genetic testing companies actually use your DNA is often obscured behind many pages of vague, jargon-filled legalese—and as I recently explored, those agreements can hide some rather terrifying clauses. Read More >>

science
Biotech Stocks Drop After Troubling CRISPR Study, but Gene Editing Is Still the Future

On Monday, the world of science awoke to news that suddenly cast uncomfortable doubt on many of the past five years’ major breakthroughs: A new paper had identified a possible barrier to using the revolutionary gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 in humans. The news incited a temporary hysteria that sent the stocks of all three major CRISPR biotech firms tumbling in premarket trading, declining by as much as 11.9 per cent. Read More >>

genetics
Microsoft Wants to Diagnose Disease By Building Massive Database of the Human Immune System

Imagine making a spreadsheet of every meal you’ve ever eaten, every hand you’ve ever shook, every bit of dust that’s ever gotten in your eye—and multiply it by about a million times. Then you begin to get a sense of the size of the data problem that is your body’s immune system. Through a new AI project, Microsoft hopes to solve this data problem and make diagnosing nearly any disease as simple as a single blood test. Read More >>

science
23andMe Wants to Tell You How to Lose Weight

The quest to figure out the right diet for maintaining an optimal weight is often less a quest and more a life-long battle. We cycle through fad diet after fad diet, hoping to eventually one day strike diet gold. Now, the consumer DNA testing company 23andMe is hoping to cut out some of the mystery of dieting, providing consumers with personalised weight loss advice as part of its genetic reports. Read More >>

history
Discovery of Unknown Ancient Population Changes Our Understanding of How North America Was Settled

She died 11,500 years ago at the tender age of six weeks in what is now the interior of Alaska. Dubbed “Sunrise Girl-child” by the local indigenous people, the remains of the Ice Age infant—uncovered at an archaeological dig in 2013—contained traces of DNA, allowing scientists to perform a full genomic analysis. Incredibly, this baby girl belonged to a previously unknown population of ancient Native Americans—a discovery that’s changing what we know about the continent’s first people. Read More >>

science
Why Has Science Only Cured One Person of HIV?

In 2007, a young American man living in Berlin became a marvel of modern medicine when, 12 years after he was diagnosed with HIV, the virus suddenly disappeared from his body. Timothy Ray Brown had been diagnosed with leukemia and received a stem cell transplant treat it. His stem cell donor, it turned out, had a rare genetic mutation known as CCR5-delta 32 that gave Brown resistance to HIV infection. Brown became known as “the Berlin patient.” Ten years later, he is still the only person to have ever been cured of HIV. Read More >>

science
The Most Life-Changing Breakthroughs in Genetics of 2017

It was a big year for the building blocks of life. Here are the most significant breakthroughs in genetics research of 2017. Read More >>

science
The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2017

The trouble with the future is that it never seems to arrive. That’s why we call it the future. We consequently have this bad habit of taking the present, and all the wondrous and horrific things it has to offer, for granted. As a reminder that we’re actually living in the future of a not-so-distant past, we present to you a list of the most futuristic things that happened in 2017. Read More >>

science
Scientists Think They’ve Found a Gene for Bad Breath

Not all bad breath comes from ketchup-and-onion sundaes. Around 0.5% to 3% of people get bad breath from places outside the mouth, like the sinuses, esophagus, lungs, or blood. These causes aren’t fully understood. Read More >>

science
Alarmed By Recent Events, Scientists Speak Out Against DIY Gene Therapy

It seems hard to fathom that scientific progress has advanced to a point where it’s suddenly possible for people to undertake something as complicated as gene therapy outside the safety and confines of a well-funded lab, but it has. In just the past few months we’ve seen not one, but two examples of people pursuing unregulated gene therapy. That’s right, people are genetically modifying their bodies in DIY labs and friends’ flats. Read More >>