Life 2.0 – a chance to fix the faulty bits?

dna-crane

Rebuilding DNA with CRISPR. Source: New Yorker, Illustration by Todd St.John

BIG things are happening in genetics, for BigD-ers and for the rest of the world. Scientists have discovered a naturally-occurring, highly accurate gene editor, that can be used to cut and paste or delete genes or parts of genes in DNA. They can use the editor to remove a disease-causing mutation, replace faulty or undesirable parts of a gene or to turn a gene off completely.

What could this mean? Say you’ve inherited a genetic mutation that guarantees you’ll get polycystic kidney disease by the time you reach adulthood. And that it is most likely you will spend the rest of your life on dialysis.

What if the mutant genes that cause polycystic disease, passed down from generation to generation, can be clipped out of your genome entirely and you never pass it on to any of your offspring? (more…)

Dialysis news flash!

It’s been an interesting news week for BigD-ers, with a major advance in stem cell technology  It wont happen tomorrow, but the potential is now the possible: growing a new kidney from stem cells.   It’s not certain yet whether it will be done inside the body, or in a dish and transplanted when full grown, but if we can hang around a few years…

Just click on the headlines below for more.

Australian scientists grow mini-kidney in lab 

Stem cell mini-kidney in a dish

Plus:

University of Queensland kidney breakthrough a step forward in bio engineering