News | CRISPR, crispr genome editing system - Part 12
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Chinese scientists just admitted to tweaking the genes of human embryos for the first time in history

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A group of Chinese scientists just reported that they modified the genome of human embryos, something that has never been done in the history of the world, according to a report in Nature News. A recent biotech discovery — one that has been called the biggest biotech discovery of the century — showed how scientists might be able to modify a human genome when that genome was still just in an embryo. This could change not only the genetic material of a person, but could also change the DNA they pass on, removing “bad” genetic codes (and potentially adding “good” ones) and taking an active hand in evolution. Concerned scientists published an argument that no one should edit the human...
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CRISPR Digest #5

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Since the last CRISPR update there have been some developments regarding this new genome-editing technique. Leading scientists in the field (Baltimore et al (2015)) met in Napa, California at a bioethics conference organised by the Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI) to discuss CRISPR policy and make discussion of this topic more visible to and inclusive of doctors, social scientists and the public. They pinpoint four recommendations to be put into immediate action: Strong discouragement of “any attempts at germline genome modification for clinical application in humans, while societal, environmental, and ethical implications of such activity are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations”. Creation of forums of experts in science and ethics to discuss the potentials and risks of this technology. Transparent research to gain...
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Cellectis signed CRISPR/Cas9 licensing deal with University of Minnesota

Cellectis Plant Sciences recently announced it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with the University of Minnesota, granting the firm worldwide rights to patents covering the use of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in plants. The technology, developed for genome engineering in plants by University of Minnesota Professor Dan Voytas, strengthens Cellectis’ gene editing property rights, the firm said in a statement. Cellectis also has rights to use meganuclease and transcription activator-like effector nuclease-based gene editing technologies. Applying CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in plants could help scientists develop valuable crops, the firm said in a statement. Financial and other details of the agreement were not disclosed.
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CRISPRdirect: software for designing CRISPR guide RNA with reduced off-target sites

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that thing make be useful for CRISPR developers. Summary: CRISPRdirect is a simple and functional web server for selecting rational CRISPR/Cas targets from an input sequence. The CRISPR/Cas system is a promising technique for genome engineering which allows target-specific cleavage of genomic DNA guided by Cas9 nuclease in complex with a guide RNA (gRNA), that complementarily binds to a ∼20 nt targeted sequence. The target sequence requirements are twofold. First, the 5′-NGG protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) sequence must be located adjacent to the target sequence. Second, the target sequence should be specific within the entire genome in order to avoid off-target editing. CRISPRdirect enables users to easily select rational target sequences with minimized off-target sites by performing exhaustive searches against...
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Hijacking CRISPR to Fight HIV

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Hijacking CRISPR to Fight HIV All the cool techniques people are developing with CRISPR-Cas9 are great and all, but sometimes a repurposed natural genetic system just has to go back to its roots. If CRISPR was originally a virus defense system in bacteria, why not forget about all this genome engineering whatnot for a minute and just use it to fight deadly viruses in humans? That’s the reasoning behind a new article from a group at the Salk Institute, who pitted CRISPR against HIV. HIV is particularly hard to fight because it integrates into target cell genomes, where it can lie in wait, safe from standard drugs. What we really need to get rid of HIV is some way to...
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Controlling CRISPR

As our understanding of CRISPR technology grows, the extraordinary potential of this gene-editing system in the realm of therapeutic development comes closer and closer to realization. However, ownership of the intellectual property (IP) behind this technology is set to spark a protracted patent feud between the most prominent scientists in the field. Who will reap the financial rewards if CRISPR revolutionizes the pharmaceutical industry and launches a new era of human medicine? CRISPR holds incredible therapeutic promise The CRISPR/Cas9 system holds several advantages over existing gene-editing technologies. Firstly, RNA-guided gene targeting via CRISPR/Cas9 is fundamentally easier and vastly cheaper when compared with Zinc-finger nucleases or TALENs, both of which require recombinant protein engineering. Experimentally, the system has been simple enough...
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CRISPR Chain Reaction

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A rare mosaic female fly, with a lighter left half mutated by MCR and a wild-type darker right half. A new genetic-editing technique based on integrating CRISPR/Cas9 technology into a Drosophila melanogaster genome can make homozygous mutants in half the time it would take using traditional crosses, according to a paper published today (March 19) in Science. “The study is well done and also very elegant,” said Ji-Long Liu of the University of Oxford who was not involved in the research, but helped to develop CRISPR/Cas9 in Drosophila. Liu called the method “a really clever way to . . . make the magic happen.” The CRISPR/Cas9 system requires two components: a guide RNA that matches the region of the genome...
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A CRISPR Solution to ‘Bubble Boy’ Disease?

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They named him Phoenix because he was born five weeks early while his parents were on vacation, and spent his first few weeks in an incubator. Kristen and Patrick Wilkinson thought they knew exactly which ashes their son might soon rise from. But when they got him home to San Francisco things just got worse, Kristen says. Phoenix wasn’t gaining weight. He had a persistent skin rash. Eventually he was admitted to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital with a diagnosis of “failure to thrive.” Phoenix had been born in Kentucky, a state where, unlike in California, infants are not routinely screened for a disease called SCID — Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. So at first, California doctors puzzled over what might be wrong...
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Microbiome Editing with CRISPR/Cas9 Has Research, Diagnostic Potential

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Two of the bacterial kingdom’s greatest assets, the CRISPR “immune” system and horizontal gene transfer of plasmids by conjugation, could be exploited by humans to wipe out specific communities of bacteria or even turn them into useful reporters. CRISPR/Cas9 provides a way to kill off bacterial populations according to the genetic sequences in their genomes, according to a paper published in Nature Biotechnology in September. The authors showed that they could selectively eliminate populations of bacteria harboring antibiotic resistance genes by targeting them with Cas9 nucleases informed by guide RNAs that corresponded to those genes. They did so by creating plasmids packing the Cas9 enzyme and relevant guide RNAs. “We can selectively cleave DNA in bacteria...
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Building a genomic GPS with CRISPR

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A new “app” for finding and mapping chromosomal loci using multicolored versions of CRISPR/Cas9, one of the hottest tools in biomedical research today, has been developed by scientists at UMass Medical School. This labeling system could be a key to understanding the spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression by allowing researchers to measure the precise linear distance between two known points on different chromosomes or two locations on the same chromosome in live human cells. Detail of the findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and first presented at the American Society for Cell Biology–International Federation for Cell Biology annual meeting in December. The nucleus of every cell in our bodies (with the exception...
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