Intellia Therapeutics Wins China CRISPR Patent

GEN News Highlights, 19 June 2017,

Intellia Therapeutics, founded by Jennifer Doudna, has been awarded a broad patent for the CRISPR/Cas9 single guide gene editing system.  Intellia has licensed the CRISPR technology developed by Jennifer Doudna at the University of California-Berkeley. This latest announcement comes on the tails of the European Patent Office’s announcement favoring UC-Berkeley as well.

Jennifer Doudna Talks CRISPR, Science, Ethics

Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, 2 July 2017,

Jennifer Doudna sits down with The Guardian to discuss her new book A Crack in Creation, co-authored with Samuel Sternberg, to discuss her career and history as a scientist as well as her pioneering work with CRISPR/Cas9.

The CRISPR Arms Race: CRISPR Inhibition by Mobile Genetic Elements

Sontheimer E.J and Davidson, A.R. (2017) Current Opinions in Microbiology. 37:120-127.

As with every immune system, invading organisms have developed ways to bypass an organism’s defenses.  The CRISPR/Cas system is no different with viruses developing anti-CRISPR proteins.  This review surveys anti-CRISPR proteins and how they could be used to enhance CRISPR gene editing.

DuPont Pioneer Acquires Exclusive CRISPR License

GenomeWeb, 27 June 2017,

ERS Genomics, founded to commercialize the intellectual property of Emmanuelle Charpentier, has granted an exclusive license to DuPont Pioneer covering CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technologies for all plant and agricultural applications.  The details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Rapid Detection and Quantification of CRISPR Induced Mutations

Luttgeharm, K.D. et. al, (2017) Biotechniques, 62:268-274.

Detection of CRISPR mutations and the determination of mutation zygosity often slows gene editing workflows to a crawl.  In this Biotechniques report, Luttgeharm et. al. describe an optimized T7 Endonuclease I heteroduplex cleavage assay that detects a wide variety of mutations and predicts mutation zygosity for individual diploid cell lines and organisms.

Natural CRISPR Diversity Could Expand the Gene Editing Toolbox

Karvelis, T. et. a. (2017) Current Opinions in Microbiology 37:88-94.

While the CRISPR/Cas9 system is a significant improvement over previous gene editing technology, limitations remain. A significant constraint is the requirement for the PAM sequence.  By identifying Cas9 variants from additional species and in vitro evolution of identified variants, scientists will be able to diversify the number of sequences targeted.

How CRISPR Could Add to the Soaring Cost of Medicine

Jim Kozubeck, STAT, 26 June 2017,

With many companies pursuing medical uses of gene editing, it is only a matter of time until treatments become commercially available.  Despite promises, the cost of these treatments may prevent their widespread adoption.  In this opinion piece Jim Kozubek discusses the price tag of current gene therapy treatments and the possible future of these technologies.

New Study Finds No Evidence for Genome Editing with NgAgo

Khin, C, N., et. al. (2017) PLOSOne, 12(6):e0178768.

A new study in PLOSOne has found no evidence of gene editing activity with Natronobacterium gregoryi Argonaute (NgAgo).  Previously NgAgo had been described as a DNA targeting, DNA guided endonuclease similar to the CRISPR/Cas system. However, since its first report few labs have been able to duplicate the results.  In this report researchers injected over 100 mouse zygotes with the NgAgo plasmid supplied by AddGene and found no evidence of successful gene editing.

Genome Editing as Therapy for Muscular Dystrophies

Pini, V., et. al. (2017) Current Stem Cell Reports. 3:137-148.

Muscular Dystrophy is one of the many diseases scientists are evaluating for treatment with CRISPR/Cas systems with many labs reporting new findings.  This review provides a survey of current findings and the impact they may have on Muscular Dystrophy treatments.

Jennifer Doudna Talks CRISPR on Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly

Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, NBC, 11 June 2017,

On Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, Jennifer Doudna describes how the CRISPR system functions and how she got her start in science.  The piece doesn’t stop there but travels around the country interviewing different researchers working in plant science and human health demonstrating the potential the CRISPR system has to drastically change the human experience.