This press release is issued on behalf of The CRISPR Journal, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert Inc. delivering outstanding research and commentary on all aspects of CRISPR and gene editing research. The Journal is dedicated to validating and publishing research in CRISPR biology, technology and genome editing, and providing a forum for commentary and debate of key policy, regulatory, and ethical issues affecting the field. The Journal is published bimonthly online and in print and is led by Editor-in-Chief Rodolphe Barrangou, PhD (North Carolina State University); Executive Editor is Dr. Kevin Davies. See http://www.
This press release is copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Its use is granted only for journalists and news media receiving it directly from The CRISPR Journal. For full-text copies of articles or to arrange interviews with Dr. Barrangou, Dr. Davies, authors, or members of the editorial board, contact Kathryn Ryan at the Publisher.
1. CELL-FREE CRISPR SYSTEM
In a new study in The CRISPR Journal, Eric Kmiec and colleagues report the development of a novel cell-free system to study the mechanism and regulation of CRISPR gene editing. The authors describe a mammalian cell-free extract, including a Cpf1 ribonucleoprotein complex with a guide RNA and enzyme components, that recapitulates site-specific DNA cleavage, DNA deletions and insertions, and homology-directed DNA repair. "The development of this system provides an opportunity to study the molecular interactions and the regulatory circuitry controlling CRISPR-directed gene editing in a more defined manner," the authors report.
2. TUSCAN: COMPUTING CRISPR SITE PREDICTION
Researchers have made considerable progress in the computational prediction of the activity of individual CRISPR target sites. However, these methods typically do not represent a generalized model of CRISPR-Cas9 activity, as there can be discrepancy between computational predictions and lab outcomes. Writing in The CRISPR Journal, Australian researchers Denis Bauer, Laurence Wilson, and colleagues describe the construction of a universal CRISPR activity model called TUSCAN, which outperforms previously published methods by up to 10%. The authors also suggest that TUSCAN is more scalable, completing tasks thousands of times faster than other methods. TUSCAN is an important new tool for genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screening.
3. DEBATING THE ETHICS OF GERMLINE EDITING
There is intense scrutiny regarding potential uses of CRISPR gene editing in human embryos, which would render a permanent man-made change to the human germline. Over the past few years, dozens of organizations and societies have debated and published reports on this controversial topic. In a timely Perspective in The CRISPR Journal, Carolyn Brokowski examines no fewer than 60 ethics reports produced by groups around the world over the past three years. Not surprisingly, views on the desirability of germline editing for therapeutic and/or enhancement purposes vary considerably. Despite this vast trove of scholarship and earnest debate, Brokowski is not alone in wondering: what happens next?
4. FABULOUS PHAGES: ALL IN THE CAS FAMILY
Most of the attention in CRISPR circles has focused on the applications of the Cas9 nuclease. However, in a major review article, Sanne Klompe and Sam Sternberg, co-author of the book A Crack in Creation with Jennifer Doudna, eloquently describe the expanding family of CRISPR nucleases, beyond Cas9, and the diversity of their genome editing applications, particularly "the use of these RNA-guided machines for biotechnology applications."
5. CRISPR IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM
One of the reasons underlying the intense growth and interest in CRISPR technology is its relative ease of use. As Carolina Dahlberg and colleagues discuss in The CRISPR Journal, student interest in CRISPR-Cas applications offers an exciting and timely opportunity to encourage and motivate student engagement in high school and university biology course settings. This Perspective highlights some ongoing efforts to bring CRISPR-Cas technology "out of the classroom and into the teaching laboratory."
6. ARRIGE ARRIVES
Last month, a group of 160 European scientists and ethicists from 35 countries gathered in Paris to discuss the responsible use of genome editing. The result is the formation of a new group called ARRIGE (Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing). In a short report in The CRISPR Journal, the co-founders of ARRIGE present the background and rational for the group's formation and activities.
7. "CODE OF THE WILD": My CRISPR Story
In the second installment of "My CRISPR Story," University of Arizona filmmaker Cody Sheehy discusses the genesis of his crowd-sourced documentary film project, "Code of the Wild: the nature of us, edited" developed with Arizona State physician-scientist Samira Kiani. Sheehy, who calls his project a "social innovation impact campaign, says Code of the Wild "aims to become a central forum for conversation among researchers and other stakeholders in the CRISPR field. We want to create better awareness among scientists and public, so that they can shape a better future together."