Rewriting the Code of Life

A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA

Andrew Pollack for The New York Times:

“In the late 1980s, scientists at Osaka University in Japan noticed unusual repeated DNA sequences next to a gene they were studying in a common bacterium. They mentioned them in the final paragraph of a paper: ‘The biological significance of these sequences is not known.'”

“Now their significance is known, and it has set off a scientific frenzy.”

Unprecedented power to rewrite the code of life?

“This means a genome can be edited, much as a writer might change words or fix spelling errors. It allows ‘customizing the genome of any cell or any species at will,’ said Charles Gersbach, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University.

Relax.

This could take a while, right?

“’All of this has basically happened in a year,’” Dr. S. Weiss of Emory University said. ‘It’s incredible.'”

Rewriting the code of life.

So, who will do the coding?

Customizing a species at will.

Would you?

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