The Nobel Lectures and CRISPR Cas…ł

Chemistry laureates Emmanuelle Chapentier and Jennifer Doudna showing their Nobel Prize medals Credit: Nobel Prize Outreach

Here you can watch le Nobel Lectures by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna. Emmanuelle is very focused and tr√®s, tr√®s chic, oui. Jennifer is generous with credits to colleagues and willing to represent the public conscience of genomic editing. The thing I liked most is the reference to CRISPR-Cas…ł: a hypercompact genome editor found in huge phages. Probably it evolved to target the genes of competing phages inside bacterial hosts.

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It’s Nobel Week, let’s party

Traditionally the Nobel Laureates travel to Stockholm to receive their prizes. This year the prizes are coming to them.¬†On 7 December, 19.00 CET, the diploma and medal will be presented to Emmanuelle Charpentier at the Swedish Ambassador’s Residence in Berlin.¬†On 8 December, 16.00 PST, it’s Jennifer Doudna’s turn at the Residence of Barbro Osher, Honorary Consul General in San Francisco.¬†Also on 8 December, 11-13 CET, we can watch online the Academy’s official Nobel Lectures 2020:¬†For the development of a method for genome editing, by¬†Emmanuelle Charpentier, and¬†The Chemistry of CRISPR: Editing the Code of Life, by¬†Jennifer A. Doudna. Full programme here.

CRISPR rising stars

Andrew Anzalone (Broad Institute), Jennifer Hamilton (Berkeley) and Cameron Myhrvold (Princeton)

December is time for rankings and forecasts. Let’s start with STAT News celebrating young talents who could become the next generation of scientific superstars. Three CRISPR researchers appear among STAT wunderkinds. As a postdoc at the Broad Institute, Andrew Anzalone helped make a key advance by developing prime editing, where the same RNA molecule specifies the target and the desired edit. Jennifer Hamilton, from Berkeley, works on solving one of the major hurdles of CRISPR-based therapies: delivering the genome editor to the desired cells. Cameron Myhrvold, has since worked at the Broad Institute on developing CRISPR-based diagnostics such as CARMEN and is about to start his own lab at Princeton.

CRISPR goes graphic

No wonder “Editing Humanity” by Kevin Davies is good reading. The executive editor of The CRISPR Journal (and the founding editor of Nature Genetics) is really in a great position to tell the CRISPR story so far. But the book deserves praise also for its aesthetic qualities, i.e., pictures and graphics. I’m totally in love with the typographical character marking the start of paragraphs – there is a sign representing Cas9 in place of the conventional pilcrow ¬∂.

Where is the revived mammoth?

I watched Genesis 2.0, which is debuting in Italy almost two years after its release at the Sundance Film Festival. In the meanwhile, Semyon Grigoriyev has died. The Russian paleontologist leading the effort to clone a mammoth was one of the movie‚Äôs main characters. He always had little chance of success, and the plan’s odds are now worse than ever.

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CRISPR & society, the dialogue resumes

CRISPRcon returns with a series of discussions exploring gene editing’s role in COVID-19 testing and treatment, racial disparities, strategies to address climate change, and more. The panel on gene editing and journalism opens the event, that is free and 100% virtual, on Sept 1. Speakers: Tamar Haspel (Washington Post Columnist), Antonio Regalado (Senior Editor for Biomedicine, MIT Technology Review), Elliot Kirschner (Executive Producer, Human Nature and the Wonder Collaborative). Moderator: Ting Wu (Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School).