Deployment Of Crispr Gene Editing May Unlock Vast Potential To Target Viruses
Many viruses don't contain DNA. Instead, their genetic information is encoded in RNA, which they use to hijack the genes of their hosts. If scientists can use gene editing to target that RNA instead, they could make advances in such areas as HIV and poliovirus. In other news, families that have a child with a rare genetic condition often struggle with isolation when coping with the diagnosis.
The New York Times:
Scientists Find Form Of Crispr Gene Editing With New Capabilities
Just a few years ago, Crispr was a cipher — something that sounded to most ears like a device for keeping lettuce fresh. Today, Crispr-Cas9 is widely known as a powerful way to edit genes. Scientists are deploying it in promising experiments, and a number of companies are already using it to develop drugs to treat conditions ranging from cancer to sickle-cell anemia. Yet there is still a lot of misunderstanding around it. Crispr describes a series of DNA sequences discovered in microbes, part of a system to defend against attacking viruses. Microbes make thousands of forms of Crispr, most of which are just starting to be investigated by scientists. If they can be harnessed, some may bring changes to medicine that we can barely imagine. (Zimmer, 6/3)
Families Isolated By Rare Genetic Conditions Find New Ways To Reach Out
Shortly after Milo Lorentzen was born, nurses whisked him away to the neonatal intensive care unit for low blood sugar and jaundice. An exam then found a cluster of irregularities, including a cleft palate and a hole in his heart. The staff called in a geneticist, who issued a misdiagnosis — the first frustrating episode in what would become years of testing, as Karen Park and Peter Lorentzen searched for a way to help their son. (Snow, 6/5)