Since CRISPR’S dis­cov­ery, sci­en­tists around the world have been find­ing new ways to ap­ply gene edit­ing to plants and an­i­mals. Here are some of the de­vel­op­ments Doudna tracks in A Crack in Cre­ation.

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Cit­rus fruit

Re­searchers at South Carolina’s Clem­son Univer­sity are em­ploy­ing CRISPR to cre­ate cit­rus trees that are re­sis­tant to a dis­ease known as Huan­g­long­bing, or cit­rus green­ing, which has dev­as­tated the coun­try’s in­dus­try over the past decade.


Us­ing a gene-edit­ing tool called TALEN, Min­neapolis­based Ca­lyxt has de­vel­oped soy­beans with “an over­all fat pro­file sim­i­lar to that of olive oil,” Doudna writes. The com­pany plans to launch com­mer­cial soy­bean oil next year.


The Univer­sity of Mis­souri has bred pigs that are re­sis­tant to porcine re­pro­duc­tive and res­pi­ra­tory syn­drome. “The virus costs U.S. pork pro­duc­ers more than $500 mil­lion an­nu­ally,” Doudna writes, “and re­duces pro­duc­tion by 15%.”


Chi­nese sci­en­tists have ap­plied CRISPR to sup­press the gene that con­trols hair growth in Shan­bei goats, prized for their cash­mere wool. The en­hanced goats pro­duce a third more fur than their coun­ter­parts.


Re­searchers in China are har­ness­ing CRISPR to cre­ate mon­keys that mimic hu­man con­di­tions and dis­eases, from mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy to can­cer, which would al­low “sci­en­tists to hunt for dis­ease cures with­out en­dan­ger­ing hu­man lives,” Doudna writes.


A team in Aus­tralia is ex­plor­ing ways to re­write the chicken genome to elim­i­nate the pro­teins that cause egg al­ler­gies in hu­mans. The new eggs could be used in foods and vac­cines.

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