Nigeria is considering expanding the regulatory scope of its biosafety agency to address emerging technologies, such as gene editing, gene drives, and synthetic biology.
Researchers have created the largest synthetic genome ever made, with a smaller set of amino-acid-encoding codons than usual.
Opponents of human germline editing hae argued that changing the human gene pool could have unforeseen and irreversible consequences.
Scientists have long hoped CRISPR — a technology that allows scientists to make very precise modifications to DNA — could eventually help cure many diseases. And now scientists are taking tangible first steps to make that dream a reality.
Controlling gene expression through gene switches based on a model borrowed from the digital world has long been one of the primary objectives of synthetic biology.
Research demonstrates the feasibility of using type I CRISPR-Cas to effectively introduce a spectrum of long-range chromosomal deletions with a single RNA guide in human embryonic stem cells and HAP1 cells. Type I CRISPR systems rely on the multi-subunit ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex Cascade to identify DNA targets and on the helicase-nuclease enzyme Cas3 to degrade DNA processively.
Caulobacter ethensis-2.0. is the world's first fully computer-generated genome of a living organism. However, although the genome for C. ethensis-2.0 was physically produced in the form of a very large DNA molecule, a corresponding organism does not yet exist.
Variations of the genome editor CRISPR have wowed biology labs around the world over the past few years because they can precisely change single DNA bases. But such “base editors” can have a serious weakness. A pair of studies published this week shows that one kind of base editor causes many unwanted—and potentially dangerous— “off-target” genetic changes.
Advances in the field of biotechnology and synthetic biology are becoming increasingly accessible to actors wishing to do harm, while scientists and policymakers have become increasingly aware that the current regulatory framework may not be adequate.
Vaccines are risky or ineffective in people with compromised immune systems, they don’t even exist for several viral diseases. All of which gave scientists in half a dozen labs the same idea: Rescue one of the oldest biotechnologies with one of the newest — CRISPR.