The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.
On January 14, Eric S. Lander published an article in the journal Cell celebrating the “heroes” of CRISPR-Cas9, a revolutionary DNA-editing technology that may be the most important genetic engineering development in decades.
“It’s hard to recall a revolution that has swept biology more swiftly than CRISPR,” Lander, a biologist at MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute, wrote, noting that, although nearly every molecular biologist is familiar with the technology that allows scientists to easily disable or change the function of genes, they are likely unfamiliar with the manpower that went into its discovery.
What Lander failed to recognize in his article — and what many of his colleagues and commenters on the piece have recently condemned him for — is that his institute is currently involved in a billion-dollar patent dispute with the University of California’s Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Germany, which played a vital role in developing CRISPR-Cas9. Not only did the Cell paper fail to disclose the potential conflict of interest, it significantly minimized the role of Doudna’s lab in advancing the technology.
That Lander would attempt to write the definitive history of the development of a groundbreaking, potentially Nobel Prize-worthy technology, especially while in the midst of a legal battle surrounding exactly that, struck many as a bald-faced attempt at excising, in this case, the contribution of women from the scientific record.
Read full, original post: How One Man Tried to Write Women Out of CRISPR, the BIggest Biotech Innovation in Decades