Ongoing CRISPR battle

CRISPR, in addition to being the hottest new gene editing technique, has also been at the heart of a vicious patent battle between the Broad Institute and Berkeley. In a recent update, the US Patent Office has deemed that the patents issued to the Broad Institute (Feng Zhang) valid, which is a major blow to Berkeley (Jennifer Doudna).

Ahhh, science drama.

NPR and Science do a good job summarizing the verdict.

Jon Cohen for Science has written a fantastic article going into the background of how CRISPR technology was discovered and developed, and what has led to the current patent battle.

UK Scientists permitted to use CRISPR technology to edit genes in human embryos

Today it was announced that scientists in the Francis Crick Institute in the UK would be allowed to use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the genome in human embryos. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding CRISPR technology (apart from patent rights and giving proper credit, there have been lots of ethical issues with the technology) especially when one Chinese group used the technology (perhaps prematurely) to edit human embryos. This time, the scientists, led by Kathy Niakan, have received official permission from the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be able to conduct their research. The main interests in their research revolve around infertility.  For more information, check out Nature News.