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The CRISPR babies saga shows the need for action, not more delays

Posted by Guest Blogger on Dec 20, 2018 8:15:12 AM

This post was contributed by Kelly Hills, founding bioethicist of Rogue Bioethics.

On November 25, the MIT Technology Review dropped a bombshell report. A scientist working in China was using CRISPR/Cas9 in an attempt to create gene-edited babies. Several hours later, the scientist, Jiankiu He, confirmed that two such edited babies were born in a twin live birth several weeks previously. While this claim has yet to be independently verified, the watching world erupted in controversy. Briefly, there are two overlapping, valid critiques being offered of He’s work:

  • CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing is not far enough along, scientifically, to be doing in humans;
  • We have not had a broad, public conversation or consensus around the ethics of genome editing.
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Topics: CRISPR

Academic vs. Industry Postdocs

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 13, 2018 8:22:32 AM

This post was contributed by Laura Desrochers, a postdoctoral scientist at AstraZeneca.

Why I chose an industry postdoc

I’m currently doing an industry postdoc in neuroscience at AstraZeneca’s Waltham site after doing a brief academic postdoc. Why did I switch? Well, my long-term goal was to enter industry since I was drawn to the idea of working as a team to develop therapies that could directly impact patients. And, to be honest, I’ve never enjoyed grant-writing. The more I talked to people with industry experience, the more I heard that getting into industry early would only help.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Starter Guide to induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) Part 2:  Reprogramming and Transdifferentiation

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 6, 2018 8:12:52 AM

This post was contributed by Kusumika (Kushi) Mukherjee.

The ultimate goal in the field of regenerative medicine is to replace lost or damaged cells. Here, I will discuss the two major processes by which an adult somatic cell is converted to a different cell type for regeneration and repair and situations where one process is favored over the other.

Visit Our Stem Cell Pages

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Starter guide to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) part 1:  A renaissance in regenerative medicine

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 30, 2018 9:04:26 AM

This post was contributed by Kusumika (Kushi) Mukherjee, editor of Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, a Cell Press reviews journal.

Stem cells are special types of cells that can develop or “differentiate” into more specialized cells with specific functions [1]. In many tissues, stem cells serve to replenish/replace damaged cells that no longer function adequately [1]. Stem cells’ ability to differentiate into multiple cell types makes them useful models for developmental processes and promising therapeutic tools. The two unique characteristics that define stem cells are:

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Topics: Stem Cells

Tips for arabidopsis transformation

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 25, 2018 9:23:48 AM

This post was contributed by Laura Lee, a graduate student at Stanford University.

Arabidopsis is a fantastic model organism for many reasons, not the least of which is ease of transformation. There are many motivations to generate transgenic Arabidopsis, from studying transcriptional and translational dynamics of genes and proteins in living plants, to complementing mutant phenotypes. Arabidopsis is amenable to the floral drip or dip transformation method. The general steps for this method include:

  • Cloning and transforming a plasmid into the bacterium Agrobacterium tumeficans - a plant pathogenic species that stably integrates transfer DNA (tDNA) into the genomes of the plants it attacks
  • Growing the transformed agrobacterium culture
  • Dipping your plant’s flowers in the agrobacterium culture to allow for tDNA insertions into the plant’s germline
  • Selecting for seeds that have the tDNA insertions (usually via seed growth on antibiotic-containing media)
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Topics: Plant Biology, Techniques

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