Genome editing

Altering the genome, typically to better understand gene and protein function. This also paves the way for gene therapy.

New “Jumping Gene” CRISPR Directly Inserts DNA

A new experimental version of CRISPR could help fix genes rather than disable them using transposons, or “jumping genes”. This could help move the current “find and delete” purpose of CRISPR to the more useful “find and replace” one.

Stem Cells Edited In Vivo For the First Time

Researchers have genetically modified stem cells inside the bodies of mice for the first time, in a study that could lead eventually to new potential for stem cell therapies. The study also shows potential for studying genetically-edited stem cells within the body, rather than in the lab.

CRISPR Twins’ Lives Could Be Shortened by Two Years

He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who created the first gene-edited twin children last year, could have unknowingly shortened their lives by more than 1.9 years. A study into the DNA and death records of 400,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank found the genetic mutations to gene CCR5 were “of quite strong effect.”

Fungus Genetically Modified to Wipe Out Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes

University of Maryland scientists have genetically modified a fungus to produce a toxin fatal to mosquitoes, in order to reduce the malaria death toll they currently cause. An out-of-lab trial destroyed a mosquito population almost entirely within 45 days, leading some to criticise the work as “too dangerous” for the real world.

Gold Nanoparticles Improves CRISPR Cell Delivery

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have proposed gold nanoparticles as a new way to deliver CRISPR Cas-12a to cells. These nanoparticles can be filled with the necessary CRISPR components to edit genes cleanly, with between 10% and 20% of targeted cells successfully edited during lab studies. No toxic side effects were found from the process.

First Lifeform Created with Fully Redesigned DNA

Cambridge University scientists have created the first living organism with fully synthetic DNA radically altered from its original state. The strain of E coli was given a smaller set of genetic instructions than its counterparts, proving life can continue with such a restricted code.

Genomic Innovations Will Bring Increased Legal Action

Questions around legality, protecting privacy and ensuring quality of data in DNA sequencing all need answering, a symposium recently held at the University of Minnesota has announced. LawSeq, a $2 million project looking to solve the issue of privacy and legality in sequencing, is exploring how to ensure the legal world catches up with current science.

The One-Stop Guide to Genomic Data, Courtesy of Front Line Genomics

Front Line Genomics’ “Biodata Analysis and Management – Genome Analytics, Interoperability, and Data Life Cycle” report isn’t just an update of our old Genomic Data 101 guides: packed with new information on AI and machine learning,. data discoverability and data interoperability, it is much much more.

Initial Study on Plasma Samples and Liquid Biopsy Potential Completed by Genomics England, Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific

The first stage of a collaboration between Genomics England, Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific looking to assess the suitability of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) samples collected during the 100,000 Genomes Project has now concluded. The collaboration was also created to objectively evaluate liquid biopsy market offerings and find evidence for implementing that technology in healthcare for better disease treatment and prevention.

New “Allelic” Gene Drive Replaces Faulty Genes with Preferred Versions

Scientists at the University of California San Diego have created a new version of a gene drive which could lead to spreading specific, favourably genetic variants through a population. This “allelic drive” uses a guide RNA to direct CRISPR to cut undesired gene variants and replace them with better versions of the gene.

New Sequencing Test for Huntington’s Could Cut Short Results Waiting Time by Weeks

A collaboration between Viapath, NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre has created the world’s first nanopore-based genetic sequencing test for Huntington’s disease, now available at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. If successful, the test could cut waiting time for complicated Huntington’s cases, and could have big ramifications for other disorders in the future.

More Than 13,000 Genetic Edits Made to Single Cell

Harvard College researchers have announced that more than 13,000 genetic alterations have been made to a single cell using CRISPR technology. This work is designed to edit genomes at a much larger scale than currently possible.

Expanded StrataNGS Test Analyses 500 Genes in Advanced Cancer Patients

Oncology and precision medicine company Strata Oncology has announced the launch of its expanded StrataNGS test 3.0 for patients with advanced cancer. The test analyses 500 genes for three particular immunotherapy biomarkers, microsatellite instability (MSI), tumor mutational  burden (TMB) and PD-L1, to better inform use of precision treatments.

Biogen’s Lead Alzheimer’s Drug Falls Down at Phase Three Trials

Pharma giant Biogen and its Japanese partner Eisai have made the decision to halt two phase 3 trials of aducanumab, a drug created to slow Alzheimer’s by targeting brain-destroying beta-amyloid fragments. An independent monitoring committee decided that the drug was unlikely to benefit patients compared with a placebo.