Your Missing Links Are Here (12 March 2021)

Some of the best stuff we picked up around the internet

By: Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt - Mar. 12, 2021

Top picks

  • CRISPR could be the end of opioid abuse – a story that has hit many outlets this week after researchers in the U.S. show that CRISPR-based repression of NaV1.7, a sodium channel protein associated with pain perception led to analgesic (pain-relieving) effects in mice. The research, published in Science Translational Medicine, describes how targeted epigenetic repression of NaV1.7 by CRISPR-Cas9 technology and zinc finger proteins - a methodology that the scientists have called LATER - might have potential for long-lasting pain relief as a much needed alterative to opioids, which are highly addictive and currently the gold standard for chronic pain management.
  • This is the year that CRISPR moves from lab to clinic: a brief status update from Nobel Laureate Jennifer Doudna.


  • Researchers in Japan show that optimised nano-micelles can induce efficient genome editing in the mouse brain. Nano-micelles were used to co-deliver Cas9-encoding mRNA and gRNA and the researchers could monitor gene editing in the mouse brain via expression of a red fluorescent reporter protein. The work was published in Journal of Controlled Release.
  • Researchers in the U.S. investigated how Cas12a accesses and cleaves human DNA in nucleosomes, and found that nucleosome unwrapping regulates accessibility of DNA to Cas nucleases. The team proposes ways to improve DNA targeting in eukaryotic cells by relaxing DNA wrapping within nucleosomes. The findings were published in Science Advances this week.
  • Researchers in China have developed a dissolvable microneedle patch that can mediate transdermal co-delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins targeting an inflammatory protein NLRP3 and glucocorticoids for the effective treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. The patch dissolves quickly to deliver its cargo locally and mediate anti-inflammatory effects at the site of inflammation, with promising results in in vivo mouse models for atopic dermatisis and psoriasis. The findings were published in Science Advances this week.
  • Research led by Jennifer Doudna reveals the mechanisms by which Cas9 precisley trims 30-base pair DNA molecules from foreign DNA bodies to generate immunological memory in prokaryotes. The findings were published in Nucleic Acids Research this week.


Vision and opinion

Conferences and events

  • Registration and abstract submission are open for the 14th annual CRISPR conference. This year's conference will be held virtually from the 1st-10th June and will be hosted by Dupont. Read more about the event, sign up and view the invited speaker list at the conference website here.
  • Genome Editing 2021 virtual conference program now available here. The event, which takes place on the 30th March, will cover functional genomics technologies for translational research and therapies.
  • CRISPR in Drug Discovery: From Targets to Therapeutics: a virtual event running from 23rd to 24th March 2021 that will focus on the application of genome editing to identify drug targets, develop better disease models and advance genome-editing therapies.

Podcasts and Interviews

  • Master wordsmith Walter Isaacson takes the media by storm with his latest book "The Code Breaker". Hear him discuss CRISPR in the short (link), the intermediate (link) and the long interview (link).


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News: Your Missing Links Are Here (12 March 2021)
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