Viewpoint: There’s a repeatability problem with CRISPR experiments. Only ‘self-governance’ can fix it

4-2-2019 crispr cas gene editing x
Image: Verdict

Many scientists assume that if a chunk of a gene is missing then the protein that it encodes will not function, or even be produced.

Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany used CRISPR to make cuts in 136 different genes. In about a third of cases, proteins were still produced from these “damaged” genes and, furthermore, many of the proteins remained partially functional. This strange phenomenon, of damaged DNA producing functional protein, does more than punctuate life’s remarkable adaptability and resilience.

It means that dozens, or hundreds, of studies that used CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out genes, but failed to validate that the encoded protein was fully removed, could be incorrect or misleading.

Related article:  Biotech industry fears Canada's uncertain CRISPR crop rules will slow farming innovation

The problem with major scientific developments, especially CRISPR/Cas9, is that experimental tools often explode in popularity before scientists and editors can implement standard procedures.

Unfortunately, academic institutions and scientific publishers are hulking bureaucracies with slow-moving policy changes. Ensuring that CRISPR/Cas9 produces repeatable experiments – rather than blemishes on the scientific record – will require the collective action of scientists. It will demand self-governance.

Read full, original post: Here’s why many CRISPR/Cas9 experiments could be wrong – and how to fix them

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend