September 24, 2017

Bearcats Blown Away by Chalk Fest -

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The New Tardy Policy Pilot Is Over -

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SMHS Chalk Fest is an Instant Successes -

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chalk Fest is Shaping Up Well This Year -

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Boys Volleyball Season Comes to a Close -

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bearcat Chefs Compete in Nacho Contest -

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bearcat Invitational Track Meet a Huge Success -

Monday, May 8, 2017

Concert Band Prepares for Spring Concert -

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Students: “Beware the Banality of a Busy Life” -

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Roger Federer Proves he is the GOAT -

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Coach John Tells Us About Boys Tennis -

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Olaiha Fonua and His Friend Perform at Green Week -

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Eureka, We Built It! -

Thursday, April 20, 2017

International Week Celebrates Diversity -

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

International Week Shines -

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Patent Battle Closed for CRISPR -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Trump’s New Executive Order Is Not Effective -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Uber Drives Itself Into a Corner -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A New Tale That’s As Old As Time -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

“Life” Falls Flat -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Patent Battle Closed for CRISPR

_Gene_Editing

 

Looks like UC Berkeley beat out Harvard and MIT in a patent battle over a new gene splicer.

Crispr-Cas9 is a new and cheap genome editing tool, more accurate than previous tools for editing DNA. A patent legal battle over the tool has been now going on ever since 2012 but on February 15, 2017, US Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) ruled that the applications filed by the UC Berkeley team to be different than the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The Broad Institute’s use of CRISPR-Cas9 systems in eukaryotic cells, such as human cells, was ruled by the USPTO to be a separate invention from the UC Berkeley’s team of general usage of CRISPR-Cas9 editing technology in any type of cell.

 

In the 51 page decision, the USPTO judges noted that Broad’s patent can only let them use CRISPR for eukaryotes(organisms such as plants or animals) while the Berkeley team patent authorizes them to use CRISPR on a variety of organisms. But how does CRISPR work?

 

The CRISPR-Cas9 system creates a mutation or change in a piece of DNA that will be genetically passed down to offspring. The system consists of 2 molecules, an enzyme called Cas9 and a piece of RNA called guide RNA.  Cas9 acts as a pair of scissors that cut the DNA at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can be attached or thrown away. The guide RNA is designed to find and bind a specific part of the DNA sequence, since the guide RNA bases are all complementary to those of the target DNA sequence in the genome. This makes sure, in theory, that the guide RNA won’t bind with any random DNA sequence in the genome. The Cas9 in turn follows the guide RNA to the location of the target DNA sequence and makes a cut through the strands of DNA.

 

There were many scientists that stated to medical newspapers around the nation about their concerns with gene editing.  Peter Glazer, M.D., Ph.D., HS and FW, voiced his concerns in the Yale school of Medicine publications. “As physicians, we understand what serious diseases are. Many of them are very well known and well characterized on a genetic level,” Glazer said. “The slippery slope is where people start thinking about modifications in situations where people don’t have a serious disorder or disease.” Mark Mercurio, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics stated “At some point we are not treating, but enhancing.”

 

Although the patent battle has ended, the ethics that coincide with gene editing is very serious indeed. “This is definitely new territory,” said Pasquale Patrizio, M.D., director of the Yale Fertility Center and Fertility Preservation Program. “We are at the verge of a huge revolution in the way disease is treated.”

 

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