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Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

It's been 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their Science paper on CRISPR, the New York Times writes, adding that despite the lack of initial fanfare, "CRISPR has become one of the most celebrated inventions in modern biology."

CRISPR has since been used to study diseases like cancer and is being developed as a treatment tool, while also being applied to alter crops as well as ask basic scientific questions, the Times writes. It has also earned Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, now at the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Nobel Prizes.

But it also sparked a patent dispute between the University of California and the Broad Institute over patenting gene editing in living cells. It notes that a recent and likely final ruling was issued in favor of the Broad.

At the same time, the Times writes that CRISPR has raised ethical questions, particularly following the use of the tool by He Jiankui to controversially edit the germline genomes of human embryos. With refinements to the tool, scientists tell the Times that CRISPR could eventually be used alter human embryos with precision. "Five years is way too early," Bieke Bekaert a graduate student at Ghent University in Belgium tells the Times, "but I think in my lifetime it may happen."

The Scan

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