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CRISPR and mRNA Together

In addition to fueling some COVID-19 vaccines, mRNA could also be used to deliver CRISPR therapies, Time magazine writes.

It notes that in June, researchers led by the University College London's Julian Gillmore reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on their test of Intellia Therapeutics and Regeneron's CRISPR-based drug to treat transthyretin amyloidosis. The small study, as GenomeWeb reported, found treatment led to a reduction in serum TTR protein levels —TTR accumulates in transthyretin amyloidosis in nerves and the heart.

Time adds that the study's use of mRNA to deliver CRISPR machinery highlights how it could be used beyond vaccines, as the approach could be adapted beyond transthyretin amyloidosis for other diseases and conditions. "To imagine using [CRISPR] as a therapy for people, you need to figure out how to get these editing tools into the cells you're trying to fix. That's where messenger RNA comes in," Daniel Anderson from MIT and CRISPR Therapeutics, who was not involved in the research, tells Time.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.