Scientist play “color the butterfly”

I’m not talking about coloring books, or the new adult coloring fad, but rather new possibility in the using the CRISPR-cas gene editing.

The patterning and colors on butterflies’ wings are governed by suites of genes. Crispr-Cas now makes it much easier to figure out what a gene does by deleting it and seeing what happens.

Two teams of biologists report in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have used the technique to explore the roles of two master genes that control the appearance of a butterfly’s wings.

Want to know? Read about it here.

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CRISPR just got really real

The great things about CRISPR is its potential do all kinds of interesting things! The scary part about CRISPR is its ability to mutate human embryos and the slippery slope to designer babies. That last part might be an exaggeration… but given that scientists just removed a dangerous mutation from human embryos…. its not too far off.

You can read about it all over the place, but I particularly like this NY Times article.

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Embryos before and after editing.

Rewriting the Code of Life

Scientists on at MIT are proposing to introduce a mouse that has its genes edited to resist Lyme disease. Given the high prevalence of Lyme disease on the small New England Island, the removal of Lyme disease from the mouse population (who harbor before it infects humans) would then directly effect how prevalent it is in the human population.

Cool huh?

But really, this story is about one of the first real world examples of CRISPR, the revolutionary gene editing tool.

Read about it over at the New Yorker. 

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I can’t stop talking about CRISPR

You know when you look at a giant box of chocolates, and you think “I’ll only have just the one” do you know you’re lying to yourself before you eat the whole box?

I have been telling myself for months that I’m going to stop posting about the ongoing CRISPR saga. It should not surprise anyone that like the fat kid with the box of chocolate I’m not done.

We have started human trials on CRISPR. That’s right, the dream, the money sink, the controversy over the patent, and somehow, less than a year later, we’re already at human trials. This is insane (but interesting?).

What could possibly go wrong? Read the non-exhaustive list here.

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And you should probably be aware there will be more posts about CRISPR in the future…