Gene drive technology is powerful and slightly frightening. But the coronavirus pandemic reminds us that we want to have multiple weapons in the public health arsenal, should we be confronted with another life-threatening microbe.
The effect of "Factory" farms on farmers and animals, catching up with John Ioannidis and the controversy over evidence-based care, the intimate connections of mind and body, and a look at gene drives - CRISPR on steroids?
For centuries farmers have tried to bend their crops -- nature’s bounty -- to their will to create bigger, more plentiful, perhaps ever-tastier foods. In the past, this genetic editing, known as hybridization, has been luck of the draw. But new genetic technologies have changed that random-luck equation. A new study looks at how your scientific literacy impacts the perception of these changes, and whether knowing more reduces fear.
Four sips from the firehose that is Internet content: Spicy and bitter are ways plants tried to dissuade you from eating them; CRISPR, in service of animal welfare, hits a snag; a podcast contrasts Nathan's Hot-Dog Eating Contest to chemotherapy, and good news science is alive and beautifully well.
Can diseases be treated by modifying the genes of people with genetically-based disorders? Dr. Chris Gerry discusses CRISPR, a technology that edits the DNA in the human body. It has worked in a small number of cases. Does this mean that we have an immediate revolution in medicine on our hands? Or will it be just an esoteric experiment that will fail to live up to expectations? Maybe some of both.
If you're a Chinese citizen, don't irritate the Chinese government. Otherwise, you'll be subject to "re-education" and then possibly deployed as a pawn of the regime. Apparently, the Chinese scientist who gene edited a baby is now learning this lesson the hard way.
Given the rogue nature of one scientist, should we expect "designer babies" to follow?
The trees that produce the cocoa beans that serve as the raw material of chocolate suffer from infections. The latest in gene editing technology may be used to produce infection resistant cacao trees, and, in doing so, keep our M&M and Snickers cravings met.
Normally, CRISPR is synonymous with gene editing to correct mistakes in the genome. But this new CRISPR-based tool uses it to detect the presence of a specific DNA or RNA. In doing so, this tool may help millions determine if they have been infected with an infectious disease, such as Zika or a Dengue virus. 
The FDA recently decided that simple CRISPR-induced changes in plants did not represent genetic modification. Then why do those officials feel differently about the same CRISPR-induced changes in animals? 
CRISPR-Cas9, unlike other methods, can create food products so close to the original that they are not considered genetically-modified organisms. That's because it's not how the process of change is of regulatory concern, but instead, it's the final result. Biosimilar is not genetically modified. 
Last year, a paper about CRISPR's potential off-target mutations that called CRISPR's safety into question received a lot of attention. The CRISPR field swiftly became defensive and publicly questioned the research. Turns out that authors of the paper also saw the flaws because they have recently published a "do-over" paper that discounts the original findings.