CRISPR Update CRISPR Updates, News and Articles

Posted: October 2, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Sharifnia, T., et. al. (2017) Cell Chemical Biology. 24:1075-1091.

Rare cancers have traditionally been difficult to study due to low incidence and limited sample availability. However, new technologies, such as sequencing, have allowed for a greater understanding of the underlying genetic causes. In tandem with sequencing technologies, CRISPR/Cas and small molecule screens have allowed researchers to rapidly screen rare cancers for possible mechanisms and treatments.

Sharon Begley, STAT, 25 September 2017,

The season of Nobel Prize awards has arrived, and with it comes a slew of predictions. This year, STAT has identified who they believe has the best chance of winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine; including the CRISPR crowd of Emmanuelle Charpentier, George Church, Jennifer Doudna, and Feng Zhang. The only problem being each Nobel Prize can only be awarded to three people.

Rachael Lallensack, Nature News, 18 September 2017,

Two new studies in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (, provide insight into butterfly wing color. The studies identified two genes, WntA is responsible for creation of the coloring pattern and borders, while optix fills the color within the borders. Understanding butterfly coloration could provide insights into adaptations such as mimicry.

Vella, M.R. et. al. (2017) Scientific Reports 7:11038.

CRISPR/Cas gene drives could be used to eliminate vector-borne diseases such as malaria and Lyme disease. However, release of modified organisms is controversial in part due to unforeseen consequences. Developing strategies for gene drive reversal could prove useful if such problems arise. This paper develops models to evaluate the effectiveness of gene drive counter-measures in order to evaluate their potential use.

Bikard, D., Barrangou, R., (2017) Current Opinion in Microbiology, 37:155-160.

Self-targeting bacteria with CRISPR usually proves fatal. This observation could lead to a new type of antimicrobial where the CRISPR/Cas system is introduced to fight infection. This review discusses how CRISPR/Cas could target bacterial infections, as well as how the system may be delivered to the infection site.

David Nield, Science Alert, 9 September 2017,

The Japanese morning glory plant has traditionally had violet flowers, however using CRISPR to disrupt a single gene, scientists have altered the flower color to white. White morning glories can be found; however, it took 850 years for the white version to appear. CRISPR accomplished the task in less than 12 months. This is the first time CRISPR has been used to alter flower color in higher plants.

Liu, X., et. al. (2017) Cell 170:1028-1043.

Many genes are regulated by cis-regulatory elements, though the molecular composition of these elements remains unknown. In a new study published in Cell, Liu et. al. describe a new technique called CAPTURE (CRISPR affinity purification in situ of regulatory elements) that uses a biotin labeled dCas9 to isolate cis regulatory elements in an unbiased fashion, allowing for insights into genome structure and function.

Stanford Medicine News Center, 29 August 2017,

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have created a new online computer game called Eterna where players design RNA molecules that could act as an on/off switch for Cas9. Molecular biologists at Stanford will then create the most promising molecules and test them in living cells. Researchers aim to have 100,000 players contribute 10 solutions each. As the research team tests the molecules in the lab, they will provide information to the players for further refinement.

Julia Franz and Katie Hiler, WUNC Science Friday, 27 August 2017,

Despite the results of Augusts CRISPR edited embryo paper being called into question, its publication has resulted in an increase in the ethics debate. Scientists agree that CRISPR gene editing will continue to improve and society must grapple with the ethical problems. Ira Flatow sits down with the author of the August Nature article and with Kelly Ormond, genetics professor at Stanford University and member of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, to discuss the results and how to proceed.

Dieter et. al. (2017) BioRxiv, 181255.

On 02 August 2017, a Nature article claimed a major breakthrough in CRISPR genome editing. Researchers from around the world, including the United States, announced that they had successfully corrected viable human embryos heterozygous for the MYBPC3 mutation that results in heart disease, without mosaicism. Recently, the results of this article have been called into question with the publishing of a BioRxiv article. The authors of the new paper identify other possible mechanisms that could have caused the observed results and suggest additional experiments to effectively prove CRISPR gene editing.

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CRISPR Update CRISPR Updates, News and Articles

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