Gene Editing in my Inbox
In ANYA, our characters grapple with whether or not to pursue gene editing as a remedy for infertility. We’re often asked whether the gene editing discussed in ANYA is real. The answer is “very much so.” While the kind of gene editing discussed in the film (edits on sperm/egg cells that would be passed on to the next generation) is not currently an accepted practice, it is a very possible one. The primary barriers are legal and ethical, not technical.
In large part this is thanks to a groundbreaking genome editing technique called “CRISPR” (or CRISPR-Cas9 protein) that allows researchers to precisely add and delete bits of DNA. A quick search will give you a sense of how radically CRISPR has redefined what kinds of edits are possible and how much training and resources are needed to do successfully implement the required technical steps.
What are genome editing and CRISPR-Cas9? by the National Institutes of Health
Genetic Modification, Genome Editing, and CRISPR by our collaborators at Harvard’s Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd). This balanced and informative resource includes discussion of germline editing.
The Wired Guide to CRISPR (WIRED)
Gene Editing is Now Outpacing Ethics (World Post)
I was prompted to write this post when I received the following email advertisement for new, tailored, CRISPR Cas9 proteins. I got on MillaporeSigma’s mailing list when I met their very helpful reps at the 2016 Festival of Genomics doing research for ANYA. They’re a leading supplier of bioscience equipment and its clear from the email that offering researchers a suite of tailored CRISPR Cas-9 proteins is an important part of their business.
It’s just a small glimpse into the fast moving industry around gene editing.