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That's a Lot of Edits

Harvard Medical School's George Church and his colleagues were able to make more than 13,000 genome edits to a single cell, Technology Review reports, calling it a record for the CRISPR tool.

He and his colleagues developed dead-Cas9 base editor (dBEs) variants to circumvent the cell death that typically accompanies numerous, simultaneous double-strand breaks. As they report in a preprint posted to BioRxiv earlier this month, Church and his group targeted their base editors against repetitive elements in the genome and, in 293T and human induced pluripotent stem cells, they were able to make edits at about 13,200 and 2,610 loci, respectively.

This, the researchers note in their manuscript, this work optimized large-scale genome editing and could enable in the future the "true potential of personalized medicine" and the "radical redesign of nature and ourselves."

Tech Review notes, though, that the Australian National University's Gaetan Burgio calls the claim that this could redesign species "way exaggerated."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.