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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."