A Possible Dark Side To Gene-Editing Technique CRISPR

11:42 minutes

Over less than a decade, the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas9 has taken the biology world by storm. The technique harnesses some of a cell’s own immune defenses to allow researchers to make edits to genes—snipping out one sequence, and inserting another in its place. But two studies published this week in the journal Nature Medicine indicate that there could be a downside to the CRISPR approach.

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Cells whose genomes underwent successful CRISPR-Cas9 editing often developed problems with a gene called p53, according to the studies. P53 mutations have been linked to several types of cancer, including ovarian, colorectal, and lung. Sharon Begley, senior science writer at STAT News, joins Ira to discuss the findings and what they might mean for the rapidly-growing field of synthetic biology.

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Sharon Begley

Sharon Begley is Senior Science Writer at STAT, in Boston, Massachusetts.

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About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director and senior producer, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.

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