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Depends on the Outcome

When CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing firm Editas recently went public, it drew in some $94 million, but Technology Review writes that the company's "ambitions rest on shaky foundations."

It's unclear, it notes, whether Editas even has the right to use the CRISPR gene-editing technology. The company was started in 2013 by a slew of CRISPR researchers, including Harvard Medical School's George Church, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Feng Zhang, and the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna. Doudna is no longer involved with the firm and has started competing companies.

But there is an ongoing, complex patent dispute between the Broad and the University of California over who invented the approach first. The US Patent and Trademark Office recently declared an interference proceeding to settle some of those claims.

If Doudna wins the patent case, Tech Review notes that Editas could have some problem. Even if Zhang wins, it adds that it'll face competition from a number of other firms starting up in the space.

"Editas CEO Katrine Bosley says the company could begin its first clinical trial by 2017, but CRISPR has never yet been used to edit the DNA of a person," Tech Review adds. "If the company is to see its plans through, it will almost certainly need much more money."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.