Another Breakthrough Technology from a Scientific Icon
Today, Forbes magazine published a fantastic review on a breakthrough technology that can be used for multiplex editing of DNA on a genomewide scale. The article was based on a study out of the well-respected lab of George Church, who can easily be described as one of the father’s of personalized genomics. The paper, which was published in Science earlier this year, describes how the Church lab modified an adaptive bacterial immune defense system to specifically target genomic sequences of interest allowing them to be modified as desired.
Essentially, a series of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) were engineered to bind to guide RNA sequences (gRNA) which in turn produces an RNA-guided editing tool for facile, robust, and multiplexable human genome engineering.
The Forbes article eloquently discusses the history associated with this discovery, competing technologies (such as zinc finger nucleases), as well as the commendable collaborative efforts that went into supporting this discovery by Church’s colleagues world-wide.
When the study was first released, it made scandalous headlines claiming that Church was trying to create Neanderthal babies. While such headlines are indicative of Church’s legendary status as a scientific icon among the general population, it certainly does not diminish from the incredible potential this technology adds to the toolbox of every-day genetic engineers.
For a full look at the Forbes article, read This Protein Could Change Biotech Forever.