Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

DEC 2017

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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Page 57 of 69

24 | DECEMBER 2017 | MaryAnn Labant The tooth-to-tail ratio, or the bal- ance of frontline troops to support echelons, can determine success or failure in any complicated operation. Originally a military notion, the tooth- to-tail ratio also applies to commercial and scientific endeavors, such as the routinization of genome editing. Ide- ally, genome-editing technologies such as the CRISPR/Cas9 system should become so routine that they fade into the background. Although CRISPR/Cas9 is a fasci- nating technology, the most interesting thing about this cutting and pasting machine, this RNA-guided endonucle- ase, is what it can accomplish in the hands of gifted researchers. Eventu- ally, CRISPR/Cas9 will become just another tool, and everyone will go about their lives without having to hear about how "hot" it is. Before that happens, however, the other end of the CRISPR/Cas9 spear will need more attention and development. That is, CRISPR/Cas9 will need better sup- ply, upkeep, and logistics. Both parts of the CRISPR/Cas9 spear—the pointy research bit and the large support structure—were discussed at the CRISPR Precision Ge- nome Editing Conference. This event, which recently took place in Boston, MA, highlighted some exciting ap- plications. What's more, it included presentations that brought to mind the famous dictum, "Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals talk about logistics." Cross-Species Transplantation One application benefiting from CRISPR/Cas9 technology is xeno- transplantation, or cross-species trans- plantation. It offers the prospect of an unlimited supply of organs and cells, and it could resolve the critical short- age of human tissues. For ethical and compatibility reasons, xenotransplantation shifted away from nonhuman primates as a potential source of donor tissues. Instead, the discipline began to focus on porcine organs. Nonetheless, in 1997, pig-to-human transplants were banned worldwide due to concerns about the transmission to humans of porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs), which are integrated into the genome of all pigs. According to George Church, Ph.D., professor of genetics, Harvard B E S T O F C R I S P R 2 017 Gifted Scientists Rapidly Advance CRISPR Operations The Most Interesting Thing about CRISPR/Cas9 Is What It Can Accomplish in the Hands of Gifted Researchers MilliporeSigma participated in the development of the Sanger Arrayed Whole Genome Lentiviral CRISPR Libraries. According to the company, these are the first commercially available off- the-shelf arrayed lentiviral CRISPR gene knockout libraries for screening human and mouse genomes. The genome-wide loss-of- function screens won an R&D 100 Award in 2016.

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