What’s New in Genetics?


Support of Germ Line Editing, With Strict Guidelines

A panel, formed by the National Academy of the Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, recently convened to discuss the ethics of gene editing in human embryos. The panel chose to support gene editing in embryos, making genetic changes which can be passed on. However, the panel set strict guidelines allowing for the use of these tools only to prevent serious disease. You can read more about the report and responses to it, here.

Drug Could Prevent Infertility in Male Cancer Patients

G-CSF, a drug routinely given to cancer patients to help combat infections was found to promote sperm cell production in the lab. The discovery was an unexpected result of a study conducted at the University of Texas. While the Hermann lab continues to study the stem cells that give rise to sperm, their results could lead to studying the effects of G-CSF on the fertility of cancer patients.

The CRISPR Fight is Over (For Now)

The gene editing tool, CRISPR, has been the center of a patent fight between Jennifer Doudna of the University of California and Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The ruling found Zhang’s work, which allows CRISPR to be used in mammalian cells, to be independent of Doudna’s initial work on CRISPR. The team at the University of California is not discouraged and is considering an appeal.

Your Smartwatch Could Help You at The Doctor’s Office

IBM is developing a hub for information collected from wearables. The device, which they’re calling “Cognitive Hypervisor”, would collect health data and share it with your doctor. Beyond collecting health data, the developers hope it may also predict any health or medical issues for a patient. Could wearables become a pillar of precision medicine?


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About Author

Stephany Foster

Stephany Foster is the Associate Scientific Writer at Recombine, a genetic testing company based in New York City. She writes on topics spanning fertility, reproductive medicine, and recent advances in genomics. Stephany also writes about recently published research that Recombine presents at conferences and meetings around the globe. Before joining Recombine, Stephany interned at the George Church Lab at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Brown University with an A.B. in Biology in 2014.