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Powerful whole-species gene editing tool fails first tests in mice | New Scientist
Cooper found that in mice the copying process worked only 70 per cent of the time at best. What’s more, when the copying process failed it induced mutations in the target sequence, meaning that resistance to the gene drive could evolve very quickly and halt the spread of the drive.

Resistance is inevitable
A press release about the study hails these results as “Successful gene drive developed in lab mice”. Yet what Cooper tested was not a self-replicating gene drive but the separated components of a drive. This was done both for safety and convenience.

So it’s neither a gene drive nor successful in the sense of potentially providing a practical method for controlling mammalian pests. But it’s early days still and researchers could well find ways to dramatically improve the copying efficiency in mammals and to prevent resistance developing. “We would need to improve both,” says Cooper.

Meanwhile, the work does have potential benefits. The approach Cooper and her colleagues developed could provide a big boost to efforts to understand the causes of disease.

Read more: Evolution-defying DNA makes mosquitoes infertile by changing their sex
Researchers trying to work out what effect gene variants have on health often to need combine different traits in a single strain of animals. At present this can be prohibitively expensive, because as the number of traits to be combined goes up, says Cooper, the number of mice that have to be created via cross-breeding rises exponentially.

Using the gene drive concept – or “active genetics” as some call it – could change the odds and make this far more affordable.

Other groups have developed successful gene drives that might one day be used to eliminate the mosquitoes that carry malaria. Last year a team led by Andrea Crisanti of Imperial College London wiped out mosquito populations in small cages in a lab using a gene drive. The team will now carry out tests in much bigger cages in Italy designed to mimic conditions in the tropics.
Genetics  gene-therapy  evolved  biotechnology 
24 days ago by cnk
Superbugs and the risks of biotech: the next pandemic might be lab-grown - Vox
“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab

Why we need to take the threat of bioengineered superbugs seriously.
biotech  biotechnology  bioengineering 
10 weeks ago by jorgebarba
Twitter
GaneshaLab followers ... please participate in this Censo and help build an active
Entrepreneurship  Biotechnology  from twitter_favs
september 2018 by diegoscl
Twitter
Every 1st Tuesday open office for for instant advice from our ... en…
startups  Biotechnology  mentors  from twitter_favs
august 2018 by diegoscl
An AI for deciphering what animals do all day
Researchers show how an algorithm for filtering spam can learn to pick out, from hours of video footage, the full behavioral repertoire of tiny, pond-dwelling Hydra. By comparing Hydra's behaviors to the firing of its neurons, the researchers hope to eventually understand how its nervous system, and that of more complex animals, works.
Crapics  ArtificialIntelligence  biotechnology 
july 2018 by rd108
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou (@Kindle)
Finished 2018-06-10. Recommended. A brisk read, funny and maddening.

A consistent theme here is very successful old men deciding to rely too much on social proof and gut instinct over due diligence, physical evidence, and the advice of more conscientious but lower status people around them.

Also, to be frank, Stanford doesn't come off looking too great, particularly the Hoover Institution, although I guess anyone with a clue already knew that Hoover is a pernicious parasite.
booklog  nonfiction  finished:2018  silicon-valley  biotechnology  venture-capital  stanford  conservatism 
june 2018 by absfac

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