New CRISPR tools can cut, splice whole chromosomes

Experts are saying it's a "huge step forward for synthetic biology."

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  • Until recently, the gene-editing tool CRISPR has only been able to make changes within single genes.
  • The new tools allow scientists to cut and splice larger chunks of genetic material.
  • The findings will likely have major implications for a variety of research fields, and also allow researchers to create synthetic species that can produce molecules not made by natural organisms.
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5 ways CRISPR will reshape humanity and the world

A transformational tool for the future of the world.

  • The 'cut and paste' DNA tool CRISPR will one day eliminate deadly diseases.
  • The technology will give us the capability to genetically design our children and perhaps one day ourselves.
  • CRISPR is already revolutionizing certain fields of medicine.
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CRISPR used in human trials for first time in U.S.

Do scientists know enough about gene editing to move forward with human trials?

Photo credit: Gregor Fischer / picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Doctors used the gene-editing tool in an attempt to treat a 34-year-old patient with sickle cell disease.
  • Last year, a Chinese scientist caused major controversy when he used CRISPR to genetically edit two human embryos.
  • It's unclear exactly what risks are involved in gene editing.
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Gene-edited babies may live shorter lives, analysis finds

Chinese scientist He Jiankui edited the genes of two babies to be resistant to HIV, provoking outrage. Now, a new genetic analysis shows why this was reckless.

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  • The gene-editing technique CRISPR offers major benefits to humanity, but scientists don't believe the field is mature enough for widespread editing.
  • For this reason, when Chinese scientist He Jiankui edited the genes of two babies to be resistant to HIV, his work provoked outrage.
  • A new study of 400,000 genetic profiles reveals that He's genetic editing did indeed have an unintended consequence.
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Forget the Anthropocene: We’ve entered the synthetic age

Synthetic biology is changing the way the planet works.

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

One fact about our time is becoming increasingly well-known. No matter how far you travel, no matter in which direction you point, there is nowhere on Earth that remains free from the traces of human activity.

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