Is CRISPR feminine in Latin languages?

crispr acronimo

CRISPR is on the lips of every science enthusiast nowadays, but are we correctly using this acronym? How do Latin languages assimilate hitech neologisms from English? Italian, like French and Spanish, virtually lacks the neutral gender. As a result new words referring to inanimate objects is problematic for non-anglosaxon speakers when forming an agreement with articles, pronouns or adjectives. The author of this blog is Italian and uses CRISPR as a feminine noun, am I right? If so, why is “laser” masculine in Latin languages? If the two technologies could switch their gender, would it affect how they are perceived? I asked for an opinion the Accademia della Crusca, which is the leading institute in the field of research on the Italian language. They asked Anna Thornton, from L’Aquila University, to answer these questions. First of all she stresses that there are no infallible rules in grammatical gender assignment, only trends.  Continue reading

Six questions for the YouTuber singing CRISPR

The best explanations of CRISPR ever heard in 413 words, or 4 minutes and half of listening, is not an article from a prestigious science journal but a YouTube video where the wonders of the new technique of genetic modification are sung a cappella. We couldn’t not interview the author. Tim Blais was a fresh physics graduate when he turned its science-music into a professional activity by means of crowdfunding. That about CRISPR is probably his best video and has quickly become viral.    Continue reading