CRISPR best and worst in 2018

CRISPR contributed to Science’s Breakthrough of the Year and was also nominated for the Breakdown category by the same journal. The second nomination was an easy guess: He Jiankui and its baby-editing claim were also mentioned in Nature’s 10 for 2018. Much more interesting is the decision to celebrate cell-barcoding, the CRISPR-based technique used to track embryo development in stunning detail and over time.

Visitors to Science’s website were in agreement with reporters and editors: exploring organisms cell by cell is the accomplishment of the year. Editor-in-chief Jeremy Berg explains why it deserves the accolade: the application of this tag-analyze-assemble approach to one of the most fundamental and fascinating processes in biology—the seemingly miraculous transformation of single cells into complex organisms—is providing rich information about cell-type inventories and lays the foundation for many future studies.

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