A new form of the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 appears to significantly expand the range of diseases that could be treated with the technology, by enabling scientists to precisely change any of DNA’s four “letters” into any other and insert or delete any stretch of DNA — all more efficiently and precisely than previous versions of CRISPR. Crucially, scientists reported on Monday, it accomplishes all that without making genome-scrambling cuts in the double helix, as classic CRISPR and many of its offshoots do.

News about this “prime editing” began circulating among CRISPR-ites this month, when the inventors unveiled it at a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Since then, “the excitement has been palpable,” said genetic engineer Fyodor Urnov of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the research.

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  • Truly astounding work. A fear though is that bad actors could do great harm with this. Is that fear justified, and if so, are protections in place? And, how meaningful can such protections really be? All honest questions.

    • Only if your doctor was a lunatic. But then he does it once, and is fired. You are afraid of a treatment. It’s not a raygun. Any treatment could be messed up by your doctor. This is no different.

  • Halleluia! We have arrived! Love to see Medicine and health issues become obsolete!!! Loved my profession But! End to physical pain and suffering?!!!!

  • Q. What makes you think that the healthcare industry will permit wide use of a process that cures the most serious diseases? What’s in it for them?

    • This is why it needs to happen in 3rd world countries first to circumvent any attempts to stifle this. India and Russia will lead the way while our for-profit system continues milking death for everything its worth. Disease pays, very well.

    • For many genetic diseases health care and insurance lose tremendous amount of money treating them over the course of a lifetime. I have cystic fibrosis, and 1 medication is roughly $4000 a month. With insurance and co pay assistance can be as low as $30. Someone makes up that difference. That’s one medication, every month, for life. If they could do one expensive treatment and forgo years of discounted treatment and complicated hospital stays it would save everyone a ton of money. Even if they forgot their oath it would be in their best interest.

  • When the North Koreans and Chinese use this tool for creating diseases to disrupt American, you won’t be able to find these scientists.

  • So if you want to avoid a lockup period, jusy have your cash flush company license something from your othet company. The Wework model.
    Pretty crazy each of these guys will make 50mil if this IPOs and they sell their shares. Then for guys like Feng with stock in numerous companies lile this, do you think he will give this one, special attention? Even still, did we forget that he took Doudna’s idea? He doesnt have much to offer intelectually and certainly not 50mil worth.
    This is way overrated for a method where they dont know how to manufacture it (talk literally any manufacturing contract group), for “therapies” with no efficacy data, no clinical ops /med talent to get it through trials. What is the background of those that will invest in this IPO? It isnt as bad as a -vant company, but still. Nope.

  • Re: “…News about this “prime editing” began circulating among CRISPR-ites this month, when the inventors unveiled it at a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Since then, “the excitement has been palpable,” said genetic engineer Fyodor Urnov of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the research…”

    I look forward to further developments in ‘Crisper-9’, ‘N, other defect-correcting technologies…
    As a retired paramedic, I can say there is nothing more heartbreaking than kids, injured / sick / damaged by dna and other transcription, and/or, other birth defects…
    That being said, I think it is way, too early to initiate widespread use of crisper-9-technologies, because, among a lot of other issues…
    It will only take 1 or 2 major screw-ups, like…that S. Korean researcher, (who used c-9 on 2 embryos, w/o the permission of his facility-/-proper patient-informing, ‘N, consent, etc.!!), where a patient get’s injured, to cause widespread public opposition / legislation against these technologies…

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