Perfection is not of this world, and no technology is perfect. But tolling the bell for CRISPR because of a single preliminary study last week was premature at best. Many voices are doubting the meaning of the Nature Methods paper reporting “hundreds of unintended mutations” putatively caused by genome editing. Some researchers have already announced that critical analyses and rebuttals are forthcoming. Continue reading
CRISPR binge-watchers have eyes wide shut. Medicine historian Nathaniel Comfort demolishes for Nature the long-awaited book by the queen of genome editing Jennifer Doudna “A crack in creation”. CRISPR stocks fall after the publication of a small preliminary study on off-target mutations. New Scientist announces as many as 20 human trials will be under way soon, mostly in China.
This week the royal couple of science journals have turned the spotlight on CRISPR’s potential for agriculture. “Genome editors take on crops” and “CRISPR, microbes and more are joining the war against crop killers” are the titles respectively chosen by Science and Nature. The first one is a perspective by Armin Scheben and David Edwards from the University of Western Australia. “Improved crops are urgently needed to meet growing demand for food and address changing climatic conditions”, they write. The global population is expected to rise from 7.3 to 9.7 billion by 2050 and a global increase in crop production of 100 to 110% from 2005 levels will be required. Continue reading