A More Elegant Form of Gene Editing Progresses to Human Testing

In April 2016, Waseem Qasim, a professor of cell and gene therapy, was captivated by a new scientific paper that described a revolutionary way to manipulate DNA: base editing. The paper, published by David Liu’s lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, described a version of Crispr gene editing that allowed for more precise changes than ever before. “It seemed like science fiction had arrived,” says Qasim, who teaches at University College London.

The genetic code of every living thing is made up of a string composed of four chemical bases: A, C, G, and T. These pair up to form the double helix structure of DNA. Traditional Crispr and

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