Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Less Fuss

The report last year that a research team in China used CRISPR-Cas9 to modify non-viable human zygotes touched off a storm of controversy, but Nature News reports that new gene-editing studies are now going ahead with less fuss.

After the Sun Yat-sen University researchers published their work in Protein & Cell, there was a backlash largely condemning the modification of germline human cells and calling for a discussion of the scientific and ethical issues of such research.

However, a recent paper from Yong Fan at Guangzhou Medical University and colleagues describing an attempt to modify non-viable human embryos to be resistant to HIV infection using CRISPR-Cas9 came out with a "fairly muted reaction," Nature News says. This and future studies, it says, will likely carry on.

It adds that the ethics board at Guangzhou Medical University has given the go-ahead to other gene-editing studies. While China seems to be taking the lead on gene editing studies, the UK has also approved a gene-editing study aimed at understanding the roles of certain genes in fertility and a Karolinska Institute researcher has approval for his studies of gene expression in human embryos using CRISPR-Cas9.

"People are more understanding of this research," Fan tells Nature News.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.