Over the last decade, the gene editing technology CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palidromic Repeats) has become a household word. It is popping up in magazines, novels, ethics reports, Senate hearings, etc. If we needed further proof of it's reach into our living rooms, CRISPR is the subject of J. Lo's latest TV project.
Several features of CRISPR are behind the rise in the excitement that surrounds it. It is an incredibly easy to do, cheap, quick and accurate form of gene editing. For a detailed description of how it works, please read here.
Because of that, the number of scientific publications that have come out over the last few years that use it are growing at an exponential rate.
Now, there is a journal dedicated to research in CRISPR. The CRISPR Journal is a new peer-reviewed journal and its inaugural issue was just released this past week. The first issue of The CRISPR Journal is available to read on the Journal website.
The journal, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., will be under the direction of Rodolphe Barrangou, PhD, the Editor-in-Chief. Barrangou is an Associate Professor whose lab at the North Carolina State University focuses on the biology and genetics of CRISPR-Cas immune systems in bacteria.
Regarding the creation of the journal, Barrangou says that “This is obviously a very momentous time for the field, and this inaugural issue fittingly captures its breadth and depth, spanning plant editing, gene drives, and therapeutic applications, as well as an IP landscape review and historical insight into the genome editing revolution”
The first cover, (see the photo accompanying this article) illustrates, as Barrangou says, "the ceremonial ribbon cutting in a relevant manner, and our content showcases our commitment to a diverse readership.”
The journal will not only publish peer-reviewed research papers, but, also commentaries, personal stories, information from companies, and editorials.
The first editorial, written by Barrangou, is named, "Keep Calm and CRISPR On" and sets the stage for the wide range of topics found in the issue.
Other topics in the first issue are a wide range of CRISPR related areas of research, including both historical perspectives and cutting edge research. For example, one article highlights the work done to target and correct the mutant gene that is responsible for the genetic disease of the eye, retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Another looks at the work being done on Batten disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder that has progressively worsening symptoms that is caused by mutations in several genes. A more hotly debated area of using CRISPR technology, using gene drives as a solution to combat vector (mosquito) carried infectious diseases like malaria and ZIka, is also incorporated into the issue. And, the role of CRISPR in the effort to maintain endangered animals.
“The debut issue of The CRISPR Journal features a wonderful breadth and overall quality that fully measures up to our hopes and expectations when we announced the Journal nine months ago,” said Kevin Davies, Executive Editor of The CRISPR Journal and Vice President of Strategic Development at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. “From CRISPR patents to conservation, gene therapy to plant gene editing, immune responses to bioinformatics, and a stunning review on the history of genome editing ‘before CRISPR,’ we think the launch issue captures the excitement and importance of this remarkable field.”