A scientist in New York is conducting experiments designed to modify DNA in human embryos as a step toward someday preventing inherited diseases.
Genome editing has been used to destroy a virus that lurks inside many of the bananas grown in Africa. Other teams are trying to use it to make the Cavendish bananas sold in supermarkets worldwide resistant to a disease that threatens to make it impossible to grow this variety commercially in future.
The idea is to generate poultry that cannot get flu and would form a "buffer” between wild birds and humans.
Gene-editing technology - including manipulation of the human germline - is advancing rapidly, yet the standards and regulations to govern its use have not kept pace.
The very nature of gene drives, designed to force their genetically-modified characteristics into a population, could make their effects difficult or impossible to reverse.
The goal of this Keystone Symposia conference is to bring together those developing and studying genome engineering tools with groups who are applying them to build new disease models, identify disease mechanisms and drug targets, and develop cell-based therapeutics and genetic medicines. In addition to covering engineering of human and animal cells, this conference will also highlight the emerging field of genome engineering to identify new anti-microbial and anti-viral drugs and applications toward next-generation antibiotics.
In calling for standards for producing such ‘CRISPR-edited’ babies, leaders have shunted aside a crucial and as-yet-unanswered question: whether it is (or can ever be) acceptable to genetically engineer children by introducing changes that they will pass on to their own offspring.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a number of cancer patients in China underwent gene modification with the gene-editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, but some scientists who administered the trial have neglected to keep track of patients who underwent gene-editing treatment.
From genome editing to hacking the microbiome, advances in the life sciences and its associated technological revolution have already altered the biosecurity landscape.
By preventing bioengineered microalgae from growing outside the lab, researchers have reduced the risk of the genetically modified organisms escaping into the wild.