Scientists Always Knew Gene-Editing Wreaked Havoc. They Didn’t Know Just How Much.
The DNA damage found in the new study included deletions of thousands of DNA bases, including at spots far from the edit. Shares of the companies involved in the editing fell on the news.
Potential CRISPR Damage Has Been 'Seriously Underestimated,' Study Finds
From the earliest days of the CRISPR-Cas9 era, scientists have known that the first step in how it edits genomes — snipping DNA — creates an unholy mess: Cellular repairmen frantically try to fix the cuts by throwing random chunks of DNA into the breach and deleting other random bits. Research published on Monday suggests that’s only the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg: CRISPR-Cas9 can cause significantly greater genetic havoc than experts thought, the study concludes, perhaps enough to threaten the health of patients who would one day receive CRISPR-based therapy. (Begley, 7/16)
The Wall Street Journal:
New Research Prompts Selloff In Companies Using Crispr Technology
Shares of companies developing therapies using the gene-editing technology Crispr declined Monday following the publication of research suggesting Crispr could cause far more extensive DNA damage than previously thought, leading to potentially harmful health effects for patients. The study, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, said the changes were often at places far away from the intentional edit, and so went undetected in previous studies, which typically observed smaller sections of genetic material. (Mohan and Marcus, 7/16)