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In a masterfully manipulative Youtube video, He Jiankui tells the world about the first genetically edited babies. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

YouTube, persuasion and genetically engineered children

To announce the world's first gene-edited babies, scientist He Jiankui did what movie directors do: release a trailer on YouTube. The video is a positive spin on unauthorized gene editing.
He Jiankui, a Chinese researcher, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong, Nov. 28, 2018. He made his first public comments about his claim of making the world’s first gene-edited babies. AP Photo/Kin Cheung

How a scientist says he made a gene-edited baby – and what health worries may ensue

Chinese researcher He Jiankui told a spellbound audience how he created gene-edited babies. With a couple of revealing slides, we can see what he did and speculate what health problems might ensue.
Chinese scientists led by He Jiankui claimed they used CRISPR to modify human embryos that eventually were born as twin girls. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Rogue science strikes again: The case of the first gene-edited babies

The announcement of the birth of babies with edited genes has been met by a deluge of scientific and ethical criticism. Public discussion focuses on risks and benefits – was breaking this taboo worth it?
A Chinese scientist claims he edited the DNA of twin girls during an in vitro fertilization procedure. CI Photos / Shutterstock.com

The road to enhancement, via human gene editing, is paved with good intentions

A Chinese scientist has revealed he edited the DNA of twin girls born through in vitro fertilization. These girls are designed to be resistant to HIV. Is the edit a medical necessity or an enhancement?
These fresh vegetables and fruits are the result of hundreds to thousands of years of plant breeding and selection. Irina Sokolovskaya / Shutterstock.com

Skipping a few thousand years: Rapid domestication of the groundcherry using gene editing

It has taken hundreds, if not thousands, of years to create the juicy, shiny produce that you take for granted at the supermarket. But now there is a faster way to domesticate wild fruits and veggies.
It takes time to see which finding might be a golden egg. Neamov/Shutterstock.com

Funding basic research plays the long game for future payoffs

Basic research can be easy to mock as pointless and wasteful of resources. But it's very often the foundation for future innovation – even in ways the original scientists couldn't have imagined.
A standee of the movie ‘Rampage’ at a theater in Bangkok, Thailand. Scientists in the film used CRISPR to create a monster. By Sarunyu L/shutterstock.com

Here’s what we know about CRISPR safety – and reports of ‘genome vandalism’

CRISPR has been hailed as the an editing tool that can delete inherited mutations and cure disease. But recent papers suggest that the technique may be too dangerous for use in human therapies.
The lighter citrus plants have been edited using CRISPR to alter the phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene which gives them a white color. Yi Li

These CRISPR-modified crops don’t count as GMOs

GMO crops have been rejected by many countries and consumers. Now, an international team of researchers are creating better crops using DNA editing--without inserting foreign genes into the plant.
Scientists discovered some bacteria can cut the DNA of invading viruses as a defence mechanism. They realised they could use this to cut human DNA.

What is CRISPR gene editing, and how does it work?

CRISPR harnesses the natural defence mechanisms of some bacteria to cut human DNA strands. Then the DNA strand either heals itself or we inject new DNA to mend the gap. This is gene editing.
Scientists are using a powerful gene editing technique to understand how human embryos develop. shutterstock

Genome editing of human embryos broadens ethics discussions

A new gene editing experiment explores human development. With this comes new ethical questions: How do scientists acquire embryos and how are their projects approved?

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