This week in genomics…


Genome Editing startup raises $120 million to advance CRISPR-Cas9 technology

One of the major stories of the week was the news that Editas Medicine raised an astonishing $120 million during their second investory funding round. News outlets quickly discovered that Bill Gates and Google had pledged funds to the genomic startup, and the headlines turned from “Startup company raises money” to “Bill Gates and Google want to edit your genes“…

Potential target for future Huntington’s disease treatment discovered

A genome-wide associative study published this week in Cell identified a number of genetic factors that govern the onset of Huntington’s disease, potentially enabling scientists to predict the development of a patient’s symptoms, and in the future provide therapeutic targets to manage or reduce symptoms. 

FLG write up: Huntington’s disease gets the GWAS treatment

The Jackson Laboratory launches Center for Precision Genomics with $10 million federal grant

Building on a prestigious history in mammalian genetics, JAX will be launching the new Center in collaboration with a wide array of other US research organisations. 

Jennifer Doudna and Craig Venter discus the implications of synthetic biology on BBC Radio 4’s FutureProofing 

In the first episode of FutureProofing, a new BBC radio 4 series that aims to examine the social, cultural, economics and political implications of emerging technology, presenters Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson explored the consequences of synthetic biology. Craig Venter discussed creating synthetic life, and Jennifer Doudna explained the pros and cons of using CRISPR to edit our own DNA. 

Listen to the online broadcast here

FLG write up: New BBC radio series explores emerging biotechnology

Read our in depth interview with Craig Venter in the latest issue of Front Line Genomics.

Octopus genome holds clues to uncanny intelligence

The newly published genome sequence for the octopus, described in Nature on 12 August, shows that these amazing animals have an unusually large genome that helps to explain how a mere mollusc evolved into an otherworldly being.

Researchers design cheaper, faster, more accurate test to identify gene defects in heart patients

A new test developed by researchers at Stanford University may be able to rapidly and accurately pinpoint the underlying genetics of heart disease by screening 88 commonly associated genes.

FLG write up: Open Sourcing Genetic Testing For Heart Disease