George Church will not have to testify in the CRISPR Patent Battle

Sharon Begley, STAT News, 16 September 2016,

The three judge panel hearing the CRISPR patent dispute between UC-Berkeley and The Broad Institute have denied Berkeley’s request to subpoena George Church and former Zhang graduate student Shuailiang Lin.  The panel stated that “UC has not explained why there would be a sufficient basis for a motion for additional testimony or for subpoena.”

Comparative Analysis of CRISPR/Cas9 activity in plants, animals, and microbes

Luisa, B., et. al. (2016) Plant Biotechnology Journal

While CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing has been used in all kingdoms of life, few articles/studies have examined the differences in targeting efficiency between organisms.  Through in silico analysis and literature surveys, Luisa et al. present a review paper that examines the potential outcomes in a variety of different plant species while comparing the outcomes to those observed in animals and microbes.

Swedish research may have just eaten the first meal composed of CRISPR edited ingredients

Jon Cohen, Science Magazine, 7 September 2016,

Swedish Researcher Stefan Jansson has stated he may have completed a historic feat by cultivating and eating a plant that had been edited using CRISPR/Cas9 technology.  Jansson did not edit the plant but received the seed from a colleague who wishes to remain anonymous.

PAM sequence influences NHEJ repair mutation

Overbeek, M., et. al. (2016) Molecular Cell 63:633-646

NHEJ repairs have been considered a random process. However, a recent report indicates that NHEJ may be a non-random process.  The identification of the repair seems to be influenced by the PAM sequence and not the surrounding gDNA in human HEK293 and HCT116 cell lines with the repair being completed by either the classical NHEJ pathway or the microhomology mediated end-joining pathway.

FEBS releases an all CRISPR edition

Genome Web, 8 September 2016,

With the increased use of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing The FEBS Journal has released an all CRISPR edition.  The September 2016 issue contains 9 reviews covering the history, development, and application of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology.

UC Berkeley has requested to subpoena George Church

Sharon Begley, STAT News, 8 September 2016,

The CRISPR patent battle continues to heat up with UC Berkeley asking the US patent office to let it subpoena George Church.  While Church is not directly involved with the ongoing patent dispute, his lab published an article similar to Zhang’s in the same 2013 edition of Science.  In addition to Church, lawyers for Berkeley are also requesting a subpoena for Shuailiang Lin, a former graduate student of Zhang’s who claims that the Zhang lab was not working on CRISPR prior to Doudna’s 2012 paper.

Virus resistant cucumbers created by CRISPR/Cas9

Chandrasekaran, J. et. al. (2016) Molecular Plant Pathology 17: 1140-1153

Plant viruses have a significant negative impact on crop yield worldwide. Traditional breeding methods are unable to provide timely solutions due to the extensive back crosses required. Gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR/Cas9, have the ability to accomplish similar results as traditional breeding without the need for back crosses.  Chandrasekaran et al. demonstrated this by using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to create homozygous T3 cucumber lines resistant to multiple common cucumber viruses.

The CRISPR patent battle heats up with claims of misconduct

Sharon Begley, STAT News 17 August 2016

A former visiting student, Shuailiang Lin, in Feng Zhang’s lab is claiming that the Zhang lab was unable to program the CRISPR/Cas9 system until after Doudna’s 2012 Science paper.  Lin has offered his laboratory notebooks as evidence. These claims are refuted by the Broad Institute.  Emails between Doudna and Lin as well as an exchange between Lin and Zhang have been entered as evidence in the ongoing interference proceeding.

Evolutionary and developmental studies are using CRISPR to explore biology

Ewen Callaway, Nature News, 17 August 2016,

Developmental and evolutionary biologists are using CRISPR to understand which genes control the development of fins and feet.  By editing zebrafish, researchers at the University of Chicago have created fingery fins composed of the same type of bones found in the fingers and toes of terrestrial vertebrates.  While none of the fish had fully formed limbs, studies such as this are a major advancement in understanding the relationship between genes and evolution.

Eliminating the CRISPR/Cas9 machinery for edited cells

Wang, Y., et. al. Scientific Reports (2016) 6:31145

Two of the challenges facing CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing are off-target effects and Cas9 toxicity due to prolonged Cas9/gRNA expression.  In order to prevent these adverse outcomes Wang et al. have developed a CRISPR/Cas9 system that will spontaneously eliminate itself co-transforming with a deletion construct that knocks out Cas9 expression during induced crossing over events.