CMN Weekly (18 June 2021)

Some of the best links we picked up around the internet

By: Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt - Jun. 18, 2021

Top picks

Industry

Research

  • A team from Norway, Sweden and Finland has studied the effect of 450 DNA repair protein-Cas9 fusions on CRISPR genome-editing outcomes. They found that most fusions only improve precision genome editing modestly. Cas9 fused to DNA polymerase delta subunit 3 (POLD3) enhanced editing by accelerating the initiation of DNA repair. The team concludes that while fusions can improve homologous recombination-driven CRISPR outcomes, most fusions require locus- and cell-type specific optimisation. The findings were shared this week on the preprint server bioRxiv.
  • Researchers in Germany have developed a reporter system to enrich for scarce CRISPR-Cas9 knockout cells in technically challenging settings such as patient-derived cellular disease models. The new system involves cloning the gene of interest upstream of an out-of-frame fluorochrome that is expressed only upon successful gene editing. The findings were published in Science Reports this week.
  • New research led by Matthew Porteus at Stanford University demonstrates the preclinical feasibility of HBB gene correction in haematopoeitic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) from healthy and sickle cell disease patient donors. The team achieved up to 60% HBB allelic correction at clinical-scale cell manufacturing levels. Transplant into immunodeficient mice resulted in 20% gene correction with multilineage engraftment with a promising long-term safety profile. The same team recently demonstrated correction of the related disease beta thalassemia using CRISPR-Cas9 editing.
  • A team in China has used high-throughput primer-extension-mediated sequencing approach to analyse the editing efficiency, specificity and protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) compatibility of a panel of SpCas9 variants at multiple target sites in depth, and their findings validate the high fidelity or broad-editing range reported for these variants. They also find that existing Cas9 variants cannot effectively suppress genome instability elicited by CRISPR-Cas9 editing, and raise this as an urgent issue. The findings were published in Nucleic Acids Research this week.
  • CRISPRloci has been developed as a new server that provides the first resource for the prediction and assessment of all possible CRISPR loci. The server is built using machine learning and constitutes a full suite for CRISPR-Cas system characterisation that offers annotation quality previously available only after manual inspection. The findings were published in Nucleic Acids Research this week.
  • Sherlock Bioscience's SHERLOCK Cas13a-based detection platform has been used to develop a novel CRISPR-based malaria diagnostic that can detect and discriminate all Plasmodium species known to cause human malaria, as well as genotype for drug resistance. The findings were published in EBioMedicine this week.

COVID-19

Review and analysis

Regulatory

  • Citizens’ jury commences in Canberra: A University of Canberra partnership will host two dozen ordinary Australian citizens this week, to debate whether or not human genome editing should be permitted.

Conferences and webinars

  • CRISPR: New Techniques and Complex Models. A virtual half-day event on the 30th June with speakers from industry, adacemia and clinical backgrounds. More details and sign-up information here.

Heh, huh wow

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