The past eight years have seen massive strides
forward for the field of genome editing, thanks to a new technology known as
CRISPR. This newfound ability to edit humanity’s genetic code provides both
profound opportunities for human betterment and difficult ethical questions
about how far the technology should be permitted to go. Kevin Davies and I
recently discussed these questions on an episode of Political Economy.
Kevin is the executive editor of The CRISPR Journal and the founding editor of Nature Genetics. He is also the author of several books, including the recently released “Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing.”
Below is an abbreviated transcript of our conversation. You can read our full discussion here. You can also subscribe to my podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, or download the podcast on Ricochet.
Your book’s title refers to the “CRISPR revolution.” How
UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism facilitated a video news conference and Q&A session with UC Berkeley’s Nobel Prize winner, Jennifer Doudna, this morning. Watch it here. (UC Berkeley video)
Rapid advances in gene-editing technology have a transformative potential to help cure disease and feed the world, but scientists must assure that the tools are not used for unethical purposes, new UC Berkeley Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna told reporters today.
Following this morning’s announcement that she had won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Doudna detailed the promise of the CRISPR-cas9 technology at a Berkeley press conference, held remotely during the coronavirus pandemic and livestreamed for a global audience. She hailed the collaboration of her colleagues, both at Berkeley and internationally, for the work that won the world’s highest honor in science.
Her research began, and has continued, “with the vision of bringing genome editing to bear on problems facing
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences yesterday awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on CRISPR, a method of genome editing.
A genome is the full set of genetic “instructions” that determine how an organism will develop. Using CRISPR, researchers can cut up DNA in an organism’s genome and edit its sequence.
CRISPR technology is a powerhouse for basic research and is also changing the world we live in. There are thousands of research papers published every year on its various applications.
These include accelerating research into cancers, mental illness, potential animal to human organ transplants, better food production, eliminating malaria-carrying mosquitoes and saving animals from disease.
Charpentier is the director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany and Doudna is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Both played a crucial role in demonstrating how
Jennifer Doudna, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for her pioneering research in CRISPR gene editing. She is receiving the prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin.
Doudna and Charpentier discovered that the CRISPR-Cas9 protein works as genetic scissors, which researchers can use to make changes to the DNA. Their research can contribute to new cancer therapies and represents a major advancement towards curing genetic diseases such as sickle cell disease.
“Working on the project with Emmanuelle — once we understood how the CRISPR-Cas9 protein works as a programmable system in enzyme [and] in bacteria to cut DNA and that we could control where it cuts DNA by changing its little molecular zip code that directs it to particular sequences — that’s when we really understood that this had the potential to be
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 to Emmanuelle Charpentier, Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany, and Jennifer A. Doudna, University of California, Berkeley, USA “for the development of a method for genome editing.”
Genetic scissors: a tool for rewriting the code of life
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.
Researchers need to modify genes in cells if they are to find out about life’s inner workings. This used to be time-consuming, difficult and sometimes impossible work. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic
CRISPR gene editing promises to revolutionize medical science, and two of its pioneers are getting a prestigious award for their efforts. Emmanuelle Charpentier (shown at left) and Jennifer Doudna (right) have received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their roles in discovering the CRISPR/Cas9 “genetic scissors” used to cut DNA. Charpentier found the key tracrRNA molecule that bacteria use to cut and disable viruses, and collaborated with RNA expert Doudna to eventually ‘reprogram’ the scissors to cut any DNA molecule at a specific point, making the gene editing method viable.
As with some scientific discoveries, there’s some controversy. While the team including Charpentier and Doudna published its work in June 2012, seven months before a Broad Institute-led group released its own findings, it didn’t include certain aspects Broad used when it started patenting gene editing methods in 2014. That led to a patent battle that’s still raging today, with
They discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and micro-organisms with extremely high precision.
Before announcing the winners on Wednesday, Göran K. Hansson, secretary-general for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said that this year’s prize was about “rewriting the code of life.”
The CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools have revolutionized the molecular life sciences, brought new opportunities for plant breeding, are contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true, according to a press release from the Nobel committee.
The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded Wednesday to UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna and French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier for their pioneering work on the so-called CRISPR tool for gene editing, a discovery that holds out the possibility of curing genetic diseases.
The Nobel Committee said the two women’s work on developing the CRISPR method of gene editing, likened to an elegant pair of “molecular scissors,” had transformed the life sciences by allowing scientists to target specific sequences on the human genome.
This could, for example, allow doctors to fix cells with sickle-cell anemia. It also paves the way for such developments as plants and livestock with greater disease resistance and safer transplants of animal organs into humans.
What if you had a tool to change the genetic instructions that cause disease?
That’s what San Francisco-based Scribe Therapeutics hopes to do with its next-generation platform for gene editing.
Today, the company announced a collaboration with Biogen to develop CRISPR-based genetic medicines for neurological diseases, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
CRISPR, you may remember, is a powerful tool used to control the genes (or genetic instructions) that are active in plants, animals, and even humans. With CRISPR gene editing, researchers can “silence” undesirable traits, and, potentially, add desirable traits.
Over the past few years, CRISPR gene editing has been used to reduce the severity of genetic deafness and treat sickle-cell anemia in mice. Today, CRISPR is considered
Feeding a growing population without being able to expand agricultural land will require increases in agricultural productivity. However, major crop yields have been plateauing over the last few decades and concerns over the use of synthetic pesticides and artificial fertilizers is leading to more and more tools being stripped away from farmers looking to boost their crop yields.
A potential solution to these challenges is through genetics. By manipulating the genomes of crops, it is possible to make crops larger, improve resilience to environmental stresses and give plants an innate resistance to certain diseases. In a sense, humans have been manipulating the DNA of crops for thousands of years through selective breeding, although the pace has increased significantly as new genetic engineering technologies have emerged. The recent IDTechEx report, “Genetic Technologies in Agriculture 2020-2030: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies”, explores the use of genetic technologies within agriculture and the impact that they