In this section you will find links to some important recent publications, discussions and reviews on CRISPR technology.
On March 13, 2019, scientists including Eric Lander, Françoise Baylis, Feng Zhang, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and Paul Berg published in Nature magazine a call for a global moratorium on heritable genome editing in light of scientist He Jiankui's work in China. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00726-5
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has launched a program called Somatic Cell Genome Editing in which they are awarding grants to fund projects to better advance genome editing techniques. The NIH is launching this program in an effort to remove any existing barriers that "slow the adoption of genome editing for treating patients." www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-launch-genome-editing-research-program
This article discusses RNA targeting using CRISPR/Cas13. Cas13 is an enzyme that has the potential to be used in genome editing. Unlike Cas9, which targets DNA, Cas13 targets RNA. Targeting RNA could be advantageous since you are not making a permanent change to the DNA, the genetic blueprint of life. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24049
This article discusses gene drives, genetic systems that can alter inheritance by being able to replicate itself and be inherited by most of the animal’s offspring. This article is specifically focused on the commercial use of gene drives in spotted-wing drosophila. These flies punch holes in fruit that is still ripening, spoiling it. Some concerns associated with gene drives is the spread of them throughout the population. Some people fear that they may be unstoppable after the genetically modified animals are released. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609619/farmers-seek-to-deploy-powerful-gene-drive/
Daisy drives may be the safer solution to gene drives. One problem with CRISPR-based gene is that they can spread indefinitely. Daisy drives, on the other hand, “enable each community to make decisions about its own shared environments by altering only those wild organisms within the local area.” In the daisy drive system, the CRISPR components are split up and scattered throughout the genome. As a result, all the CRISPR components can not be copied on their own. http://www.sculptingevolution.org/daisydrives
Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University, led by Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, made the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos. This process is known as germline engineering. This article discusses the groundbreaking work as well as the concern of genetic enhancement. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608350/first-human-embryos-edited-in-us/
A new genome editing technology has emerged called base editing. This tool can be used to edit single bases in the DNA without making any breaks in the DNA structure. This technology is especially useful in disease such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis, which are caused by a single mutation of one letter of the DNA. In a study published in Nature, researchers led by Dr. David Liu, were able to change an adenine to a guanine. Base editing, however, is not “meant to be a replacement to traditional gene editing with CRISPR, but rather another option for altering the genome in an attempt to correct disease.” https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609203/crispr-20-is-here-and-its-way-more-precise/