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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

CRISPR genome engineering research institute expands into agriculture, microbiology

• nextbigfuture.com

The funds will not only boost support for biomedical research, but also allow the renamed Innovative Genomics Institute to explore the potential of gene editing in the globally important areas of agriculture and microbiology, and fund projects focused on the social and ethical implications of editing human, animal and plant genomes.

"The CRISPR-Cas9 technology, which is only four years old, is improving by leaps and bounds and has already altered the way doctors approach disease and scientists do research," said IGI executive director Jennifer Doudna, a professor of molecular and cell biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UC Berkeley. "The IGI has shown that the technology can cure the defect that causes sickle cell anemia, and we are moving toward clinical trials within a few years."

"But we've realized," she added, "that there are many others arenas in which better gene-editing tools can promote global health, specifically by improving crops and sustaining a healthy microbial environment that has been shown to prevent illness, improve crop yields and nurture a balanced ecosystem.