The greatest functional map of all

Credit: Jen Cook-Chrysos/Whitehead Institute

Jonathan Weissman and colleagues used a CRISPR-based method to link each expressed human gene to its function in the cell. Here’s our suggested readings to learn more:
the paper in Cell by Josepg Replogle et al.
the Twitter thread by Joseph Replogle
MIT News (by Eva Frederick) and GenEngNews.

CRISPR tracks metastatic progression

Phylogenetic trees of tumors and metastases can reveal key features such as the clonality, timing, frequency, origins, and destinations of metastatic seeding. Each color in the image above represents a different location in the body. A very colorful tree shows a highly metastatic phenotype, where a cell’s descendants jumped many times between different tissues. A tree that is primarily one color represents a less metastatic cell. Credit Jeffrey Quinn/Whitehead Institute

CRISPR-based techniques allow the reconstruction of the “family tree” of the cells that compose an animal’s body by marking them with a pattern of deletions and insertions. This kind of barcoding has already helped trace embryo growth and organoid development and is shedding light on essential oncology questions by catching cancer in the act. Read how “Single-cell lineages reveal the rates, routes, and drivers of metastasis in cancer xenografts” in this Science paper and the news from Whitehead Institute.