Targeted genome editing using engineered nucleases has rapidly gone from being a niche technology to a mainstream method used by many biological researchers. This widespread adoption has been largely fueled by the emergence of the clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) technology, an important new approach for generating RNA-guided nucleases, such as Cas9, with customizable specificities. Genome editing mediated by these nucleases has been used to rapidly, easily and efficiently modify endogenous genes in a wide variety of biomedically important cell types and in organisms that have traditionally been challenging to manipulate genetically.
In other words, a quick and easy way to modify life forms by editing the gene in near real time, a notion giving researchers righteous pause along the lines of researchers and AI in terms of what this incredibly powerful technology can mean to mankind.
A new technology called CRISPR could allow scientists to alter the human genetic code for generations. That's causing some leading biologists and bioethicists to sound an alarm. They're calling for a worldwide moratorium on any attempts to alter the code, at least until there's been time for far more research and discussion.
It's not new that scientists can manipulate human DNA — genetic engineering, or gene editing, has been around for decades. But it's been hard, slow and very expensive. And only highly skilled geneticists could do it.
Recently that's changed. Scientists have developed new techniques that have sped up the process and, at the same time, made it a lot cheaper to make very precise changes in DNA.
There are a couple of different techniques, but the one most often talked about is CRISPR, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.
Custom tailoring - closer than you think when you think about it.
If anyone had devised a way to create a genetically engineered baby, I figured George Church would know about it.
At his labyrinthine laboratory on the Harvard Medical School campus, you can find researchers giving E. Coli a novel genetic code never seen in nature. Around another bend, others are carrying out a plan to use DNA engineering to resurrect the woolly mammoth. His lab, Church likes to say, is the center of a new technological genesis—one in which man rebuilds creation to suit himself.
The best of all the ST movies though Into Darkness is pretty damn good as well. :)