Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Gene Hackers

The Gene Hackers
A powerful new technology enables us to manipulate our DNA more easily than ever before.
The New Yorker -- MICHAEL SPECTER -- Annals of Science --NOVEMBER 16, 2015 ISSUE

A technical but very informative article on the research in genetics.

It didn’t take Zhang or other scientists long to realize that, if nature could turn these molecules into the genetic equivalent of a global positioning system, so could we. Researchers soon learned how to create synthetic versions of the RNA guides and program them to deliver their cargo to virtually any cell. Once the enzyme locks onto the matching DNA sequence, it can cut and paste nucleotides with the precision we have come to expect from the search-and-replace function of a word processor. “This was a finding of mind-boggling importance,” Zhang told me. “And it set off a cascade of experiments that have transformed genetic research.”

With CRISPR, scientists can change, delete, and replace genes in any animal, including us.