Scientists are trying to move beyond conventional model organisms, like fruit flies, zebrafish, yeast, and mice. They started using CRISPR gene-editing technology to craft new model organisms or to study the animals that they are more interested in. The genetic alterations generally take hold but the practical challenges of breeding and maintaining unconventional lab animals persist.
Researchers from the University of California tested gene-drive technology in mice. This controversial application of CRISPR, capable of altering the genomes of entire species, has been applied to mammals for the first time. Although the developed technology has a long way to go before being used for pest control in the wild, it could be useful in basic research.
CRISPR/Cas systems are best known as “gene scissors” for correcting genetic defects. Precise targeting of specific regions in DNA of plants, animals, and microorganisms is the reason CRISPR recently became a favorite tool of many researchers. Now, a group from the University of Freiburg identified an enzyme which assists the CRISPR/Cas system in correctly regulating translation.
Scientists from Stanford published new data that could influence the clinical use of CRISPR/Cas9 in the future. Humans carry antibodies and T-cells that target the Cas9 protein and might possess an inherent immunity, indicating that one of the biggest advances in genetic engineering should be observed from an additional angle.
Researchers have reached a new milestone in CRISPR technology by building an enzyme that can directly transform a DNA base pair from an A-T to a G-C. It will allow for more precise edits than ever before, opening doors for “DNA surgeries” and correction of mutations that cause human diseases.
Scientists have managed to completely eliminate the HIV virus in living mice using the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. They have demonstrated how it excises the viral DNA from the host animal and prevents further infection, providing hope that it could one day benefit humans.
A group of US researchers proposed a cutting edge alternative for eliminating resilient bacteria in the form of a “CRISPR pill”. The drug can specifically target harmful bugs using a combination of bacteria-seeking viruses and a cocktail of probiotics, making it more potent than most antibiotics.
The heated legal war over the ownership of the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology has finally reached a verdict. The US Patent and Trademark Office (UPTO) concluded that evidence favored the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for most patents rather than UC Berkeley, the technology´s initial inventor.
Researchers from Harvard University announced their plan to bring the woolly mammoth back to life using CRISPR/Cas9 within two years’ time. This would not only allow us to learn more about the prehistoric behemoth, but would also represent a first step towards preservation of endangered species.
Discovery of the CRISPR gene-editing technology is widely considered the biggest scientific breakthrough since the discovery of PCR. However, less publicized is the intense legal war being fought over who the technology´s rightful owner is, a decision that could drastically influence its future use.