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  • News

    In a first, human embryos edited to explore gene function

    For the first time, researchers have disabled a gene in human embryos to learn about its function.

    Using molecular scissors called CRISPR/Cas9, researchers made crippling cuts in the OCT4 gene, Kathy Niakan and colleagues report September 20 in Nature. The edits revealed a surprising role for the gene in the development of the placenta.

    Researchers commonly delete and disable genes...

    09/20/2017 - 13:24 Genetics, Development, Science & Society
  • News

    Gene editing of human embryos gets rid of a mutation that causes heart failure

    For the first time in the United States, researchers have used gene editing to repair a mutation in human embryos.

    Molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 corrected a gene defect that can lead to heart failure. The gene editor fixed the mutation in about 72 percent of tested embryos, researchers report August 2 in Nature. That repair rate is much higher than expected. Work with skin...

    08/02/2017 - 13:00 Genetics, Cells, Science & Society
  • Feature

    CRISPR had a life before it became a gene-editing tool

    It is the dazzling star of the biotech world: a powerful new tool that can deftly and precisely alter the structure of DNA. It promises cures for diseases, sturdier crops, malaria-resistant mosquitoes and more. Frenzy over the technique — known as CRISPR/Cas9 — is in full swing. Every week, new CRISPR findings are unfurled in scientific journals. In the courts, universities fight over patents...

    04/05/2017 - 09:00 Cells, Microbiology, Molecular Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Chinese patient is first to be treated with CRISPR-edited cells

    Chinese scientists have injected a person with CRISPR/Cas9-edited cells, marking the first time cells altered with the technique have been used in humans. Researchers used the powerful gene editor to alter immune cells to fight lung cancer, Nature reports November 15.

    Immune cells called CAR-T cells have already been engineered using other gene-editing technologies. A baby’s leukemia was...

    11/16/2016 - 07:00 Clinical Trials, Cancer, Genetics
  • Scicurious

    How gene editing is changing what a lab animal looks like

    Anyone who reads news about science (at Science News or otherwise) will recognize that, like the X-Men or any other superhero franchise, there’s a recurring cast of experimental characters. Instead of Magneto, Professor X, Mystique and the Phoenix, scientists have mice, fruit flies, zebrafish and monkeys. Different types of studies use different stand-ins: Flies for genetics; zebrafish for...

    10/13/2016 - 07:00 Genetics
  • News

    New era of human embryo gene editing begins

    A Swedish scientist is gene editing healthy human embryos, and he is probably not alone, researchers say.

    Chinese researchers have twice reported editing genes in human embryos that are unable to develop into a baby (SN Online: 4/6/16; SN Online: 4/23/15). But developmental biologist Fredrik Lanner of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is the first researcher to publicly acknowledge...

    09/23/2016 - 16:30 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Feature

    CRISPR inspires new tricks to edit genes

    Scientists usually shy away from using the word miracle — unless they’re talking about the gene-editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9. “You can do anything with CRISPR,” some say. Others just call it amazing.

    CRISPR can quickly and efficiently manipulate virtually any gene in any plant or animal. In the four years since CRISPR has been around, researchers have used it to fix genetic diseases...

    08/24/2016 - 07:00 Cells, Genetics
  • Feature

    Gene drives spread their wings

    Genies are said to have the power to grant three wishes. But genies recently released from laboratory flasks promise to fulfill nearly any wish a biologist can dream up.

    End the scourge of insect-borne diseases? Check. Inoculate endangered amphibians against killer fungi? Yes. Pluck invasive species from environments where they don’t belong? As you wish.

    These genies aren’t magical...

    12/02/2015 - 07:00 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Feng Zhang: Editing DNA

    Feng Zhang, 33MIT | Synthetic BiologyGraduate school: Stanford

    Like every other 12-year-old who saw the movie Jurassic Park, Feng Zhang was awestruck by the dinosaurs. He was even more amazed by the power of molecular biology.

    Now, two decades later, Zhang has developed tools to harness some of that power by controlling cells for specific purposes. As a graduate student at Stanford...

    09/22/2015 - 10:46 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Molecular scissors snip at cancer’s Achilles’ heel

    A new twist on a DNA-tweaking technology may help scientists hit cancer where it hurts.

    Damaging tiny parts of cancer cells’ machinery can pinpoint potential Achilles’ heels, researchers suggest May 11 in Nature Biotechnology. These vulnerable spots may be good places to aim drugs, says study coauthor Christopher Vakoc, a molecular biologist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York...

    05/12/2015 - 10:59 Genetics, Cancer