Scientists are trying to move beyond conventional model organisms, like fruit flies, zebrafish, yeast, and mice. They started using CRISPR gene-editing technology to craft new model organisms or to study the animals that they are more interested in. The genetic alterations generally take hold but the practical challenges of breeding and maintaining unconventional lab animals persist.

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Two separate research groups used CRISPR gene editing to fuse entire sets of brewer’s yeast chromosomes together, resulting in two strains with just one and two chromosomes. Surprisingly, the changes had little effect on most functions of the yeast. Their findings could be monumental to the study of chromosomes and why their numbers vary from species to species. Read more


Researchers from the University of California tested gene-drive technology in mice. This controversial application of CRISPR, capable of altering the genomes of entire species, has been applied to mammals for the first time. Although the developed technology has a long way to go before being used for pest control in the wild, it could be useful in basic research. Read more

CRISPR gene scissors

CRISPR/Cas systems are best known as “gene scissors” for correcting genetic defects. Precise targeting of specific regions in DNA of plants, animals, and microorganisms is the reason CRISPR recently became a favorite tool of many researchers. Now, a group from the University of Freiburg identified an enzyme which assists the CRISPR/Cas system in correctly regulating translation. Read more

Blood sample

Scientists from Stanford published new data that could influence the clinical use of CRISPR/Cas9 in the future. Humans carry antibodies and T-cells that target the Cas9 protein and might possess an inherent immunity, indicating that one of the biggest advances in genetic engineering should be observed from an additional angle. Read more

DNA puzzle

Researchers have reached a new milestone in CRISPR technology by building an enzyme that can directly transform a DNA base pair from an A-T to a G-C. It will allow for more precise edits than ever before, opening doors for “DNA surgeries” and correction of mutations that cause human diseases. Read more

DNA molecular scissors

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) gene editing technology allows permanent modification of genes within organisms. It is considered a breakthrough in biotechnology ever since its discovery.  Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), led by Spanish researcher Guillermo Montoya, now went one step further. They discovered how Cpf1, a new type of molecular scissors, unzip and cleave DNA. Read more

Scientists have managed to completely eliminate the HIV virus in living mice using the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. They have demonstrated how it excises the viral DNA from the host animal and prevents further infection, providing hope that it could one day benefit humans.

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A group of US researchers proposed a cutting edge alternative for eliminating resilient bacteria in the form of a “CRISPR pill”. The drug can specifically target harmful bugs using a combination of bacteria-seeking viruses and a cocktail of probiotics, making it more potent than most antibiotics.

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The Francis Crick Institute of London was granted permission for genome editing in human embryos in order to study the complex processes involved in early miscarriage. This is the first time a research team has ever been exempt from the ban on human testing and represents an important step forward for science. Read more