For the first time, scientists have changed human stem cells into functional insulin-producing cells in mice, potentially promising a breakthrough in treatment for those suffering from type 1 diabetes.
The introduction of multi-omic research, the advancement of AI and machine learning to improve nearly every aspect of sequencing and data analysis, are just some of the big changes that will only become more prevalent in the future. We spoke to Angela Douglas MBE, Scientific Director of Genetics Laboratories at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, for her opinions on the changing nature of genomics and the trends to watch out for.
With so many talks and panels occurring across our four stages and Live Lounge, we understand that it can be pretty hard to pick out the most unmissable discussions at the festival this year. Given the conundrum, we thought we’d help out! We’ve selected a couple of talks and panels occurring across the two days which we think will be incredibly interesting and enormously informative for a whole range of people.
A new study published in Cell magazine and co-authored by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna has suggested a potential solution to the unwanted side-effects of using CRISPR in the body. The study details using a “switch” mechanism which could keep the Cas9 enzyme turned off until it reaches its target site.
A CRISPR study has determined how DNA times its own replication, something which until now has been unknown to scientists.
A modified version of CRISPR has been used to reverse genetic obesity in two different mouse models without editing any genes. The technique uses the guidance system in CRISPR to target certain genetic sequences and amplifies existing gene activity to ramp up protein production.
The CCR5 gene has been researched by scientists since the 1990s, and has a number of roles which have not yet properly been uncovered. Loss of the gene’s function is known, however, to increase the risk of potentially fatal reactions to some diseases, and has shown an ability to enhance learning in mice.
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have created a test using gene-editing tools such as CRISPR to identify a gene variant responsible for severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (SHC). SHC is an often-familial disease which thickens heart walls and is linked to a variant in the TNNT2 gene.
AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) have announced that they will work together to open a new research centre in the UK, applying CRISPR and other functional genomics technologies to develop new cancer drugs. Specifically, the centre will study how genes and proteins interact with each other in cancer cells, and create disease models using genome-altering technologies based on this.
Baboons can live for up to 195 days with hearts taken from pigs and genetically engineered to avoid extreme immune reactions, three times longer than previous attempts, according to a report published in Nature journal.
The World Health Organization is establishing an expert panel to set guidelines and standards on the ethical and safety issues of gene editing, the body has announced. This follows the recent revelation that a scientist in China claimed he had edited the genes of twin babies to make them HIV resistant.
Twin girls in China have allegedly been born after having their embryonic genetic code modified using CRISPR. Chinese researcher He Jiankui, from the Southern University of Science and Technology, claims to have turned off a gene called CCR5 to offer total protection against HIV, as well as smallpox and cholera.