CRISPR gives mosquitos contagious infertility

Could this spell the end for mosquitos?

Researchers have used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to target a specific gene tied to fertility in male mosquitoes.

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Just how useful is human gene editing?

In the near-term, gene editing is not likely to be useful. Even in the long-term, it may not be very practical.

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  • Once perfected, gene editing is likely to be useful only under limited conditions.
  • Multigenic diseases like schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease are probably too complicated to be fixed by gene editing.
  • Embryo screening is a far more effective way to achieve the same objective.
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CRISPR: Can we control it?

The potential of CRISPR technology is incredible, but the threats are too serious to ignore.

  • CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a revolutionary technology that gives scientists the ability to alter DNA. On the one hand, this tool could mean the elimination of certain diseases. On the other, there are concerns (both ethical and practical) about its misuse and the yet-unknown consequences of such experimentation.
  • "The technique could be misused in horrible ways," says counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke. Clarke lists biological weapons as one of the potential threats, "Threats for which we don't have any known antidote." CRISPR co-inventor, biochemist Jennifer Doudna, echos the concern, recounting a nightmare involving the technology, eugenics, and a meeting with Adolf Hitler.
  • Should humanity even have access to this type of tool? Do the positives outweigh the potential dangers? How could something like this ever be regulated, and should it be? These questions and more are considered by Doudna, Clarke, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, psychologist Steven Pinker, and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
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Study calls out the genes that make cancer cells so hard to kill

Researchers from the University of Toronto published a new map of cancer cells' genetic defenses against treatment.

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  • Developing immunotherapies for cancers is made more difficult by how different tumors are from each other.
  • Some cancers are actually made worse by immunotherapy.
  • A piece falls into place on the complicated puzzle of genetic interactions of cancer cells.
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