Scientists believe that the "CRISPR twins," who had their genes edited last year before birth, will now have an easier time learning and memorizing. Apparently, the gene alteration, which was meant to make the girls immune to HIV, also altered their brains. Read the rest “CRISPR twins who had their genes edited also had their brains altered to make them smarter, scientists believe”
An investigation by the health ministry in Guangdong, China determined that scientist He Jiankui broke national laws when he used the CRISPR gene-editing technique to engineer human embryos with resistance to HIV and then implanted the embryos into women who then birthed the babies. Based on the probe, the Southern University of Science and Technology has fired He from his position as a researcher and teacher there. According to an article in the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, police may also explore charges against He and his colleagues. From Nature:
The Xinhua article confirms many details of the case for the first time: starting in June 2016, it says, He put together a team that, from March 2017, recruited eight couples consisting of an HIV-positive father and an HIV-negative mother. He’s team edited the genes of embryos from at least two couples. (The Xinhua article does not specify what type of gene editing was done, although He claims that the embryos were edited to remove a gene that enables HIV to enter cells.) In addition to the woman who already gave birth, one other woman involved in the experiment is currently pregnant with a gene-edited embryo. Five other couples are not pregnant, the article reports, and one couple dropped out of the experiment.
The article says that He’s gene-editing activities were “clearly prohibited by the state”, but it doesn’t mention which specific laws or regulations the researcher broke.
Read the rest “Chinese scientist who edited babies' genes has been fired and may face criminal charges”
Bill Gates has a long, complicated and showy relationship with malaria eradication, and in a new letter, he makes a case that mosquitoes are Earth's deadliest animals, outkilling even the murderous h. sap..
Read the rest “Bill Gates wants us to fear mosquitoes, not sharks”
He Jiankui, the scientist who claimed to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies using CRISPR technology, is missing. Reports indicate he has been detained by Chinese authorities. Read the rest “He Jiankui, scientist who gene-edited 'Crispr babies', detained in China”
We live at the confluence of two ages: the first rush of climate change, which is bringing new species and new pathogens to territories they've never been known in; and the nascent age of genetic engineering, which holds out the promise of eliminating these pathogens, and not just in the wealthy territories they've moved into, but throughout the world, including the poor countries where they are deadly scourges.
Read the rest “Google sister company is trialing a mosquito eradication plan in Fresno”
A research team from Imperial College London have published promising results of an experiment in which Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes -- responsible for the spread of malaria -- were genetically modified with a stable, gene-drive-based CRISPR modification that caused them to go extinct in the lab.
Read the rest “A CRISPR-based hack could eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitoes”
MIT Tech Review's Antonio Regalado rounds up the year's stupidest, worst moments in tech, from the guy who created his own CRISPR-based gene therapy to beef up his muscles and injected it to Donald Trump's Twitter feed to the FCC's Net Neutrality catastrophe. Of course, Juicero rates a mention.
Read the rest “2017's shittiest technology trends, news blurts, and stupidities”
Robin Sloan's 2012 novel, Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
, was as strong a debut as you could ask for, an instant geek classic of bibliophilia, magic and technology; now, with today's release of Sourdough
, Sloan returns to the alienated, quirkily funny and brilliant lives of technology workers, in a tale of food, the flesh, novelty-seeking, ancient tradition, and immortal colony-organisms.