*Editing Humanity*

That is the new book by Kevin Davies, and the subtitle is The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing.  So far I am on p.74, but it is one of the best science books I have read in some while, maybe the best this year.  Excerpt:

…Cas9 normally takes about six hours to search through every PAM sequence in the bacterial genome, pausing at each prospective site for a mere twenty milliseconds to peer into the double helix to see if it has found the correct target.  But the packaging of DNA in a eukaryotic cell nucleus is far more complex than bacteria.  During lectures to his students at the University of Edinburgh, Andrew Wood shows a diagram of a bacterial cell alongside a winding, looping mammalian DNA fiber.  “Cas9 didn’t evolve to work in the environment in which we now put it,” he says.  “It’s mind-boggling that it is possible to interrogate hundreds of millions of nucleotides in a matter of hours.”

Recommended.  Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, the two Nobel winners from last week, are so far the central characters of the story.

 

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