Gene drives are capable of altering genomes of entire animal populations by passing down mutations through generations faster than natural inheritance. The main goal of using them is to defeat diseases, control pests and speed up lab work. Self-destructing mosquitoes and sterilized rodents are in the center of interest. However, recent advancements raise concerns about unleashing this powerful technology with no clear ecological consequences
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.
Scientists from Duke University discovered that DNA contains a “built-in timer” that clocks the frequency with which mutations occur. Their research shows that DNA bases can change shape within a thousandth of a second, allowing them to temporarily morph into alternative states.
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.
A thrilling report has surfaced about the first baby being born as a result of a controversial fertilization technique, the spindle nuclear transfer. The procedure incorporates DNA from three “biological parents” to serve as the embryo’s genomic base, and is used to prevent mitochondrial diseases in infants.
There are people living among us, with capabilities we could easily call superpowers, and in most cases, they are not even aware of it. It turns out a tiny percentage of women actually develop a genetic condition called “tetrachromacy“, enabling them to see the world in hundred times more colors than the rest of us.
Humans have many phenotypic variations in eye color which is determined by multiple genes. So far, up to 16 genes have been associated with eye color inheritance. However, scientists from the Institute of Forensic Genetics at the University of Copenhagen discovered that the reason for blue eyes mainly lies in two genes: OCA2 and HERC2. This way they have shown that the earlier belief that blue eye color is a simple recessive trait is incorrect.
With all the talk about it in the scientific community, there is probably no surprise that this is yet another article discussing CRISPR. However, this may be one of the most profound discussions around the technology as it involves what could arguably be the potential flagship use of the gene editing tool – human therapy.
Advances in gene editing technology have spurred considerable progress towards a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Although the disease is rare – affecting roughly 1 in 5,000 male births – its consequences are devastating: patients are confined to wheelchairs at an early age and often succumb to heart or respiratory failure in their twenties or thirties.