Biotechnology startup will begin testing CRISPR gene editing on humans in 2017

Editas CEO

Editas CEO Katrine Bosley

Editas Medicine, a biotechnology startup, will begin tests of a powerful new form of gene repair in humans within two years. Speaking this week at the EmTech conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Editas CEO Katrine Bosley said the company hopes to start a clinical trial in 2017 to treat a rare form of blindness using CRISPR, a groundbreaking gene-editing technology.

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A mouse with a human speech gene learns faster

mouse

The humanized gene actually improved the animal’s behavior rather than messing up the system.

According to a new study, mice that receive a human version of a speech and language gene display accelerated learning. Don’t expect these findings to lead to a rush of smarter, “uplifted” animals—though they might just reveal something new and fascinating about the evolution of human speech and language.

 

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Chemotherapy will be obsolete in 20 years as scientists launch DNA project

dna

Scientists launch a new landmark project to map the genetic causes of disease.

Within 20 years, chemotherapy will be obsolete. Scientists have predicted the end of chemotherapy after launching a landmark project to map 100,000 genomes to find the genes responsible for cancer and rare diseases.

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Older moms more likely to live longer

older mom

There is a genetic link between giving birth at an older age and longevity.

Being able to have children naturally later in life may be a sign that women will live an unusually long time, according to new research. The link between the ability to give birth at older ages and longevity may be explained by genetic traits that facilitate both.

 

 

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Researchers discover gene that stimulates growth of new brain cells in adults

hippocampus

Increased length of the hippocampus dentate gyrus (DG) for overexpressed TLX gene vs. control group.

City of Hope researchers have found that over-expressing a specific gene could prompt growth in adults of new neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory are regulated.

 

 

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Longevity gene may enhance brain power

brain boosting

If scientists could boost the brain’s ability to function, they may be able to counter dementias.

For the first time ever, scientists have shown that people who have a variant of a gene called KLOTHO also have improved cognitive abilities, including better memories and enhanced thinking skills.

 

 

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UK government proposes regulations on making ‘three-parent embryos’

threeparentivf

Technique lets children avoid inheriting certain diseases – and give them genes from another woman besides mom.

Last week, the U.K. government issued proposed regulations that would allow researchers to try a new and controversial in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in patients. The technique could allow women who are carriers of mitochondrial disease to have healthy, genetically related children. But it also transfers DNA from one egg or embryo into another, a form of genetic alteration that could be passed on to future generations. Altering the genes of human egg cells or embryos in IVF procedures is now forbidden in the United Kingdom.

 

 

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Change to a single gene increases mouse lifespan 20%

Scientists also discovered individual organ and body parts reacted differently to the process in the engineered mice.

Most Americans aren’t entirely fond of the idea of immortality as shown by recent studies. But it’s probably a good bet that they still wouldn’t mind extending their lifespans by 10-15 years. If researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have their way, that wish could become a reality. These scientists have successfully extended the lives of mice by changing a single gene.

 

 

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Can you train yourself to need less sleep?

80% of us manage between six and nine hours a night; the other 20% sleep more or less than this.

A third of our lives is wasted sleeping – at least that’s how some people see it.  There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes. When you feel that way do you yearn to be like the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was said to get by on just four hours sleep a night, or the artist Salvador Dali who wasted as little time as possible slumbering?

 

 

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Gene patents could stand in the way of personalized medicine

Researchers worry that gene patents compromise their ability to tailor treatments to individuals based on their DNA.

One day in December 1995, scientists at Myriad Genetics, a a genetic diagnostics company in Salt Lake City, Utah, were competing in a race to discover the sequences of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that reveal a woman’s risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  Sean Tavtigian rushed to his job that day  at Myriad because he knew he could solve the final piece of the puzzle just in time to win Myriad the rights over both genes.

 

 

 

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