CRISPR Is More Damaging to DNA Than We Thought

Several studies have uncovered serious problems with the gene-editing tech, throwing its therapeutic potential in doubt.

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Jul 20 2018, 6:32pm

Image via Motherboard.

CRISPR has been heralded as the next frontier in medicine and wellness. The gene-editing technology has the potential to end hereditary diseases like Huntington's, and has already been used to improve agriculture and eliminate HIV in mice. But the more scientists have been experimenting with it, the more they are finding that CRISPR is far from foolproof.

In June, two studies published in Nature Medicine demonstrated that cells altered with CRISPR may be missing key anti-cancer mechanisms, increasing the risk that those cells will initiate tumors. Last week, research published in Nature Biotechnology added to these concerns by showing that CRISPR can mess up a cell’s genetic material even worse than previously thought.

We talked to Motherboard's Daniel Oberhaus about what this research means for the future of CRISPR.

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