Contribute Try STAT+ Today

Biologists tend not to discuss experimental results on a handful of cells and a single solitary mouse — too preliminary, too sketchy. David Liu of the Broad Institute therefore had no plans to present such findings, which he’d peeked at over his graduate student’s shoulder, when he gave a high-profile talk in 2018 at the National Institutes of Health on a form of the CRISPR genome-editing system that he’d invented.

Not that he wasn’t tempted. Student Luke Koblan had used the clever new form of CRISPR, called base editing, to alter a single misspelled pair of “letters” among the 3 billion in the DNA of cells taken from children with progeria, an infamous and fatal genetic disease marked by accelerated aging. Koblan had done this work in lab dishes, and had also corrected the progeria mutation in a mouse carrying the human gene that, as a result, aged so quickly that by toddlerhood, it was like a picture of Dorian Gray with whiskers.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

GET STARTED

What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.