Revolutionary technologies like CRISPR are founded on discoveries uncovered through basic research that attracts very little attention.
United Soybean Board/flickr
On average, important new lab techniques like CRISPR take 23 years to develop – but there is a public expectation that scientific breakthroughs occur quickly and efficiently.
CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology is being used in field from agriculture to medicine to food security and disease control.
You may not agree with using the gene-editing tool, CRISPR, to alter the DNA of human babies. But what about using it to engineer plants? Or wipe out one of the world's most dangerous creatures?
Editing just one gene in an embryo could create many unanticipated side-effects once the baby is born.
Genome editing technology has, and will always have, limits. Limits that are related not to the technology itself but to the intrinsic complexity of the human genome.
Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses.
Gene editing through CRISPR may have greater consequences than climate change or unleashing the energy of the atom.
Jiankui He claims he has used CRISPR to edit the genomes of twin girls.
The world seemed to be inching forward with CRISPR gene editing technology – but suddenly the forbidden fruit has been plucked, and some even worry that the CRISPR tree has been cut down.
Any children born of genome editing are genetic mosaics with uncertain resistance to disease.
Chinese researcher, Jainkui He claims to have created the world's first genome-edited twins. Such action would pose unknown risks to the lives of these children and to humanity as a whole.
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
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
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?
Chinese scientist He Jiankui of Shenzhen claims he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies.
We don't know anything about the health of the baby girls who are reported to have been born. But it's clear scientists around the world are shocked.
Embryos with eight cells.
China is pushing hard to lead a genome editing race.
A Chinese scientist claims to have edited human DNA to make us more resistant to HIV. Here's why that's not good news.
The tomatoes we eat have been carefully bred over generations, but now we can tap into wild varieties.
Gene editing of wild plants can help us tap into new sources of food. But we need to make sure it's safe – and that demands some careful regulation.
Determining the structure of the DNA was the beginning of the gene therapy journey.
Once genetic lesions for diseases such as cystic fibrosis and haemophilia were identified, the idea of replacing or correcting defective genes grew into what we now call "gene therapy".
Many farmers cultivating organic crops believe that genetically modified crops pose threats to human health.
Is gene editing compatible with organic farming? A scholar explains the differences between old genetic engineering and CRISPR methods, and why the latter is similar to tradition plant breeding.
Every surface of our body – inside and out – is covered in microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, fungi and many other microscopic life forms.
Just because you don't have the flu doesn't mean that your aren't teeming with viruses inside and out. But what are all these viruses doing, if they aren't making you sick?
Academics from different disciplines come Head to Head in this series to tackle topical debates.
Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA.
Mutations in BRCA genes are linked to the early onset of breast and ovarian cancers. But the effect of most mutations is unclear. Now new research can distinguish harmless from dangerous mutations.
More than 3.9 billion people live in regions where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is present. This species transmits Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
For several billion people mosquitoes are more than a nuisance -- they transmit deadly diseases. Now genetic modification may prove the most effective defense against the mosquito, preventing disease.
It takes time to see which finding might be a golden egg.
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
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.