CRISPR, the disruptor Illustration by Sébastien Thibault Three years ago, Bruce Conklin came across a method that made him change the course of his lab. Conklin, a geneticist at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California, had been trying to work out how variations in DNA affect various human diseases, but his tools were cumbersome. When he worked with cells from patients, it was hard to know which sequences were important for disease and which were just background noise.
Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up. Any gene typically has just a 50–50 chance of getting passed on. Either the offspring gets a copy from Mom or a copy from Dad. But in 1957 biologists found exceptions to that rule, genes that literally manipulated cell division and forced themselves into a larger number of offspring than chance alone would have allowed. A decade ago, an evolutionary geneticist named Austin Burt proposed a sneaky way to use these “selfish genes.” Biohackers gear up for genome editing Preston Gannaway Biohackers such as Johan Sosa are exploring the creative potential of molecular biology. A complete lack of formal scientific training has not kept Johan Sosa from dabbling with one of the most powerful molecular-biology tools to come along in decades. Sosa has already used CRISPR, a three-year-old technology that makes targeted modifications to DNA, in test-tube experiments.
Scientists turn mouse skin cells into egg cells and make baby mice Scientists have successfully turned mouse skin cells into egg cells and used them to create viable offspring without the use of actual eggs for the first time. Just a small percentage of the mouse cells created in the lab led to live births, researchers reported Monday in Nature, but the healthy pups that resulted from these sci-fi pregnancies provide hope that similar techniques might one day aid human reproduction. In theory, techniques like these could even allow two biological men to co-parent a child without the use of an egg donor. The new study is the culmination of years of incremental progress: Researchers began by coaxing cells from female mouse tails into pluripotent stem cells using a technique that won Shinya Yamanaka a Nobel Prize in 2007.
Liste complète The Convention is the first legally-binding international text designed to preserve human dignity, rights and freedoms, through a series of principles and prohibitions against the misuse of biological and medical advances. The Convention's starting point is that the interests of human beings must come before the interests of science or society. It lays down a series of principles and prohibitions concerning bioethics, medical research, consent, rights to private life and information, organ transplantation, public debate etc. It bans all forms of discrimination based on the grounds of a person's genetic make-up and allows the carrying out of predictive genetic tests only for medical purposes. The treaty allows genetic engineering only for preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic reasons and only where it does not aim to change the genetic make-up of a person's descendants. The Convention recognises the importance of promoting a public debate and consultation on these questions.
Special Collection: The CRISPR Revolution Val Altounian/Science Biologists continue to hone their tools for deleting, replacing or otherwise editing DNA and a strategy called CRISPR has quickly become one of the most popular ways to do genome engineering. Utilizing a modified bacterial protein and a RNA that guides it to a specific DNA sequence, the CRISPR system provides unprecedented control over genes in many species, including perhaps humans. This control has allowed many new types of experiments, but also raised questions about what CRISPR can enable. Science collects some of its recent research papers, commentary and news articles on CRISPR and its implications below.
Only 8.2 % of Human DNA is Functional, Say Genetic Researchers According to a group of genetic scientists led by Dr Gerton Lunter of the University of Oxford’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, only 8.2 percent of human genome is likely to be doing something important. Illustration of a DNA molecule. Image credit: Christoph Bock, Max Planck Institute for Informatics / CC BY-SA 3.0. This figure is very different from one given in 2012 by researchers from the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, who stated that about 80 percent of human DNA has some biochemical function. That claim has been controversial, with researchers arguing that the biochemical definition of function was too broad – that just because an activity on DNA occurs, it does not necessarily have a consequence; for functionality you need to demonstrate that an activity matters.
Opinion: Is CRISPR-based gene drive a biocontrol silver bullet or global conservation threat? Author Affiliations Scientists have recognized the potential for applying gene drive technologies to the control of invasive species for several years (1, 2), yet debate about the application of gene drive has been primarily restricted to mosquitoes (3). Recent developments in clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 technology have restarted discussions of using gene drive for invasive species control (4). Pigs and Humans share 112 DNA mutations, say scientists London: Scientists have sequenced the genome of the pig, showing the swine and humans share 112 DNA mutations linked to a range of disease including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which may be useful in fighting diseases. Researchers, who undertook the largest ever study of the pig genome, found that swine are adaptable, easy to seduce with food and susceptible to domestication – much like humans. Representative image. Reuters
Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up. Any gene typically has just a 50–50 chance of getting passed on. Either the offspring gets a copy from Mom or a copy from Dad. But in 1957 biologists found exceptions to that rule, genes that literally manipulated cell division and forced themselves into a larger number of offspring than chance alone would have allowed. A decade ago, an evolutionary geneticist named Austin Burt proposed a sneaky way to use these “selfish genes.” He suggested tethering one to a separate gene—one that you wanted to propagate through an entire population.