Round-up July 10th-17th

The first CAR-T therapy, this one for Leukemia, is one step closer to approval after an FDA advising committee gave it a unanimous thumbs up.  The therapy takes out a patient’s T-cells, modifies them to express Chimeric Antigen Receptors (that are good at recognizing tumor cells), and injects them back in.

A new German center that will sequence 1000 genomes a year in an aim to capture species biodiversity.

A controversial genetic test for gum disease has been withdrawn. The test had been drawing criticism for many years as overselling the clinical utility of genetic testing in this area, and is given as an example of why the FDA needs to wade in to regulate lab developed tests.

Trace Genomics will analyze which bacteria are present in soil to give input to farmer’s making planting decisions.

Doudna’s group publishes on the discovery of an “anti-CRISPR DNA mimic” that can reduce the off-target effects of CRISPR-Cas9.

A study using CRISPR in a ScanDel approach — tiling 1-2kb deletions, to see which regions near a gene were essential for its expression.

Public outreach shouldn’t just mean convincing the public that we know best. Biotechnologist Esvelt has plans to do R&D in a radically open way.

Verily (parent company, Alphabet) are releasing millions of mosquitos infected with a bacteria to make them sterile, in an effort to combat zika.

A study claims that ~75% of the genome is junk”, where junk means something like not under selective pressure. This is in stark contrast to ENCODE, which claims there is evidence for ~80% of the genome to be functional. The new study seems to claim that for a site to be function, a rare variant would make the individual non-viable.

Its been known that epigenetic effects can be inherited for quite some time, but its now been shown that inherited epigenetic modifications effect gene expression.

 

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