Genome Hacking Basics

The enormous progress in recent years of DNA sequencing and the increasing knowledge on genetic elements raises hopes that these insights will become medically and industrially exploitable. The recently developed CRISPR-Cas gene-editing technology allows for the fast, cheap and easily applicable processing of genomic DNA in cells and organisms.

Mainly due to the momentousness of interventions of the germline and eco-systems there are ethical and legal questions who may be entitled to use genome editing, which ways of using this technology shall be legitimate, or according to which criteria decisions shall be made. However, apart from lighthouse projects such as somatic and (potential) germline therapeutic editing approaches in humans or modification of animals (for fundamental research or the generation of disease models), there are a number of less clear and yet unidentified possible application of genome editing. Among them is the manipulation of animal and plant ecosystems through “gene drives” or microbiome editing of the human enteric flora. Furthermore, genome editing involving cis-genetic gene variants (i. e. no foreign / transgenic DNA is introduced into the target organism) will challenge and may push the limits of existing GMO regulations.

Take your time and browse through the collection of talks and reports on current and future technology trends, insights into nature and global challenges which relate to genome editing technology in a wider sense.