BioArt is entering the genome-editing era. The first CRISPR artwork is a World War II dress, patched with silk and bacteria by British bioartist Anna Dumitriu. You can read more about its science and meaning in the CRISPR Journal and Labiotech. But where does the dress come from? And if this is art indeed, what about the galloping horse CRISPRed by George Church last year? I asked Dumitriu, please find the answers below. Continue reading
Attending New breeding techniques: CRISPR/Cas9 in plants, the first theoretical-practical course on genome editing organized by SIGA (Italian Society of Agricultural Sciences) in Turin, 3-6 July 2018.
Sapiens vs Neanderthalized brain organoids (credit A. Muotri)
Taking a peek into the brain of a Neanderthal specimen would be a dream for whoever is interested in the evolution of human intelligence. To get an idea of the cognitive abilities of our closest relatives, so far, anthropologists and neuroscientists could only study the fossil and archaeological record, but a new exciting frontier is opening up where paleogenetics meets organoids and CRISPR technologies. By combining these approaches, two labs are independently developing mini-brains from human pluripotent stem cells edited to carry Neanderthal mutations. Alysson Muotri did it at UC San Diego, as Jon Cohen reported in Science last week. Svante Pääbo is doing it at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, as revealed by The Guardian in May. Forget George Church’s adventurous thoughts on cloning Neanderthals. The purpose here is to answer one of the most captivating questions ever asked: did the mind of these ancient men and women, who interbred with our sapiens ancestors before going extinct, work differently from ours? Last but not least, with respect to the ethics of experimenting with mini-brains, don’t miss the perspective published in Nature.
“As of January 2018 Addgene has distributed more than 100,000 CRISPR plasmids to 3,400 laboratories worldwide. More than 6,300 CRISPR-related plasmids have been developed by over 330 academic labs and deposited into Addgene’s collection. Geographically, new CRISPR plasmids have been developed and deposited to Addgene’s collection from the Americas (led by the United States), Europe (led by Denmark), Asia (led by China), and Oceania (led by Australia), and shipped to some 75 countries.” [Reference: Enabling the Rise of a CRISPR World, Caroline M. LaManna and Rodolphe Barrangou, The CRISPR Journal, Vol. 1, n. 3, 2018]
Spanish microbiologist Francisco Mojica is credited with coining the name CRISPR, but crisper definitions are possible, as @KevinADavies tweeted some time ago. What does CRISPR “actually” stand for?
60 minutes is considered “the most successful news magazine in TV history”. Don’t miss this CRISPR episode, featuring Feng Zhang, Eric Lander, Kang Zhang and Shoukhrat Mitalipov.
Let me come out. I enjoyed it, and I’m not much worried about so many people learning the word CRISPR from a popcorn movie. A little fun never killed any technology, and Rampage, by Brad Peyton, is less dumb than it may seem. Continue reading