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OneZero
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

CRISPR

In OneZero. More on Medium.

Reengineering Life

The technique is capable of precisely editing mitochondria

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

Ever since CRISPR was first used to edit human cells in a dish in 2013, scientists have been hopeful about its potential to treat — and hopefully, eliminate — a wide spectrum of genetic diseases.

With the first experiments to use CRISPR in people underway, the gene-editing technique is showing promising signs in a few patients. But it turns out not all DNA is amenable to CRISPR.

Some genetic diseases, like those caused by mutations in the genome of…


Reengineering Life

Three papers suggest it might not be safe to make gene-edited babies with CRISPR

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

A few weeks ago, OneZero reported new findings from a group of U.K. scientists showing that the gene-editing tool CRISPR could cause unintended DNA damage when used in human embryos. The results raised serious concerns about the safety of creating gene-edited babies.

Now there’s even more evidence that CRISPR can cause unwanted genetic mutations in embryos. After our story was published on June 16, two U.S. groups uploaded papers with similar findings to the preprint server bioRxiv. …


Reengineering Life

Gene therapy and CRISPR show promising signs

Millions of people around the world, including around 100,000 in the United States, suffer from sickle cell disease, a brutally painful inherited blood disorder. Most of them are of African descent. Over time, the disease worsens and can cause infections, organ damage, blindness, stroke, and early death.

“I can’t think of a more miserable disease than sickle cell,” James Taylor, director of the Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease in Washington, D.C., tells OneZero.

In the United States, sickle cell patients have long endured poor care and discrimination because of deep-rooted inequities in health care. A cure for the…


Reengineering Life

The experiment raises major safety concerns for gene-edited babies

Reengineering Life is a column from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

A team of scientists has used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to create genetically altered human embryos in a London lab, and the results of the experiment do not bode well for the prospect of gene-edited babies.

Biologist Kathy Niakan and her team at the Francis Crick Institute wanted to better understand the role of a particular gene in the earliest stages of human development. So, using CRISPR, they deleted that gene in human embryos that had been donated for…


Reengineering Life

The technique could pave the way for a human treatment

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard recently took a step toward a future where hereditary deafness could be corrected with a single injection into the ear. They used a super-precise type of gene editing to temporarily improve hearing in deaf lab mice.

The technique, known as base editing — sometimes called CRISPR 2.0 — allowed them to repair a mutation in the TMC1 gene. …


Reengineering Life

Researchers used CRISPR to make ‘humanized’ mice

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

To study Covid-19 in the lab, scientists need animal models — that is, animals that mimic how a disease unfolds in humans. But there’s one big problem: Mice, the mainstay of laboratory research, are resistant to Covid-19 infection.

Scientists have been racing to find the best animal models to understand how the coronavirus infects cells and causes disease, as well as test experimental treatments and vaccines before the can be tried in humans. But since normal mice can’t be…


Reengineering Life

It could be as simple to use as a pregnancy test — but it’s not there yet

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

By now you’ve probably heard of the lab technique CRISPR. The powerful gene-editing tool is being explored to treat a number of diseases and has been used to tweak the genomes of existing plants and animals. It’s also been imagined as a way to create so-called designer babies that have handpicked genetic traits.

But CRISPR’s precise genome-editing ability is also being harnessed as a tool for diagnosing disease — a use that could come to fruition much sooner than…


Reengineering Life

Scientists are using gene editing to make healthy food more appealing

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

You probably know that kale is packed with antioxidants and other nutrients and that you should be eating more of it. But it’s also bitter and fibrous, which might make you reach for less healthy greens at the grocery store instead.

A food tech startup called Pairwise Plants wants to change that. The company, based in Durham, North Carolina, and backed by a $125 million investment from agricultural giant Monsanto (now part of Bayer), is using the gene-editing tool…


Reengineering Life

A new technique involving CRISPR could eliminate the need for insulin shots

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

In the 1990s, a handful of people with Type 1 diabetes underwent an experimental therapy in hopes of curing their disease. They received transplants of tissue containing insulin-producing cells from people who had recently died. The hope was that the cells in the donor tissue would make up for the recipients’ faulty ones.

These insulin-producing cells, known as beta cells, are damaged or depleted in the more than 34 million people in the United States — about 10% of…


Reengineering Life

One company is working on a DNA-altering injection to give pets

A photo illustration of a cat lying on its side, juxtaposed against a background showing DNA strands.

Reengineering Life is a series from OneZero about the astonishing ways genetic technology is changing humanity and the world around us.

If you’re among the 10% of people who are allergic to cats, you can blame a protein found in cat saliva and skin. The pesky protein spreads when cats groom themselves and shed their hair and dander around the home.

Scientists and immunologists have been interested in this protein, known as Fel d 1, for decades because of its role in cat allergies. If they could figure out a way to stop cats from producing this protein, they could…

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The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

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