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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There may be very easy way to predict the sex of sperm

A team of Japanese researchers comes across a remarkably simple trick.

Image source: Shidlovski / Shutterstock / Big Think
  • On average, ejaculate holds about a 50/50 mix of X and Y sperm.
  • In some cultures and countries, there are strong historical and contemporary preferences for males over females.
  • There are genes unique to X sperm that can be manipulated to make them swim more slowly than Y sperm.
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Technology surrounding the human embryo has moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the reality of difficult decisions. Clinical embryologists fertilize human eggs for the purpose of helping couples conceive.

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Why home DNA tests might not be as private as you think

These tests report on more than just your risk for cilantro aversion and your ice-cream flavor preference.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Spit in the tube, seal up the envelope, wait three to five weeks, receive a litany of information about your ancestry and health for less than $200.

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