According to the helpful infographic below from Thermo Fisher, genetic engineering has been around since 1831. With the introduction of CRISPR/Cas9 in 2012, genome engineering – or at least CRISPR – seems to be on everyone’s lips.
Signals bloggers are no exception. Holly Wobma first wrote about CRISPR in an August 2014 post here, then David Brindley did so a month later here and Nicole Forgione wondered if CRISPR/Cas9 was turning reality into science fiction just last month, here.
Genome engineering is essentially editing DNA using “molecular scissors.” Making changes to the genome of living cells is a way of correcting genes that have gone awry. Naturally, and rightly so, it is controversial and there are ethical issues to be debated. I think this article, by Susan Young for MIT Technology Review, is a particularly good explanation and summary of the science, along with the key players in its development.
Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, the scientists who were being touted as Nobel darlings for the chemistry prize this recent go-round didn’t go home with the title, but there is little question this is breakthrough technology that will change biomedicine. Let’s watch to see whether Thermo follows this infographic with a second one, post 2012.
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