How green is CRISPR future? The EU judgment is coming

sunflowers in Spain

Tomorrow, the European Court of Justice is set to pronounce a verdict on the legal status of organisms produced through mutagenesis. In January, the opinion of the Advocate General Michal Bobek was variously interpreted, but scientists are hopeful that the judgment of Case C 528/16 will help the European Commission to reasonably regulate new breeding technologies such as CRISPR. Continue reading

CRISPR futures. Q&A with Jennifer Doudna

Doudna, Jennifer

Credit: Keegan Houser/UC Berkeley

Interview given to Anna Meldolesi (Corriere della sera, 15 May 2018)

The CRISPR biomedical duel between China and the US has been called “Sputnik 2.0”. Is Europe being left behind?

JD: As with any disruptive technology, there is intense competition to lead. However, unlike the space race, the CRISPR research effort is global and more collaborative. We consistently see key advances in CRISPR technology shared through scientific papers, written and read by research teams around the world. This collective approach has helped to democratize the technology. However, differing regulations across countries may impact how we ultimately translate research into real-world applications that can benefit the most number of people with the most need. Researchers in Europe have made valuable contributions to the development and application of CRISPR and will continue to play a role in establishing global standards. Continue reading

CRISPR plants are coming, and USDA is fine

SoybeansThe US Department of Agriculture has given the green light to five CRISPR-edited plants in the last couple of years. See the table below, published by Nature Biotechnology this month. CRISPR is set to make its commercial debut in fields in 2020, with DuPont Pioneer’s waxy corn, and hopes are high that gene editing will give us the chance of rewriting the GMO debate. Continue reading

2018: Happy New Edit!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2017 ends with over 3,000 CRISPR papers indexed by PubMed and 6,810,000 Google’s search results. There is no doubt that 2018 is going to be hot, with the brand new CRISPR Journal launching in 2018 and leading scientists convening at a super CRISPR meeting in Lithuania next June. Clinical trials for genetic diseases such as beta-thalassemia and Leber congenital amaurosis are expected to start, and a forthcoming European Court verdict could be a turning point for the future of edited crops. Happy new year and happy new edit then, surprisingly surprising surprises ahead!

Zinc fingers grab CRISPR for once

sangamo tweetThe first patient edited “in vivo” last week is a breaking news story, and zinc finger nuclease ZFN must be credited for the accomplishment. A putatively outdated system stealing the scene from the most celebrated technique for gene editing is a bit like Carl Lewis beating Usain Bolt at the Rio Olympics. Any wonder that tweets by some biotech-enthusiasts had something of a derby atmosphere, while many inattentive readers thought it was CRISPR stuff, as lay people never heard of ZFN before. Continue reading