Apr 14, 2017

CRISPR gene tool can now test for diseases

Manuel Almagro Riva, Wikipedia

The gene-editing tool CRISPR can be used to rapidly diagnose infectious diseases, researchers show in a new study. They detected viruses like Zika and its close relative dengue, found cancer mutations and quickly spotted single genetic mutations.

Why it matters: The method is faster, cheaper and better than existing ones.

How it works: CRISPR is based on a defense system used by bacteria. It deploys an enzyme that scans a cell's genome to find a particular DNA sequence then snips it, allowing the sequence to then be tinkered with by changing or adding the molecules that form a genetic code. Feng Zhang and his colleagues have now shown that the same technique can be used to test saliva, blood, and other body fluids for the presence of genetic material from viruses and bacteria with a million times more sensitivity than today's most common diagnostic tool.

What to expect next: Commercialization. CRISPR-anything is big business. Venture capital firms, pharmaceutical companies and public stock offerings have already injected a billion dollars into companies harnessing the technology to engineer drugs, speed up livestock breeding, and create disease resistant crops. CRISPR diagnostic tools are likely to clear regulatory hurdles and make their way to market before more controversial gene-editing technologies.

Big picture: Walter Isaacson talked to Axios about the morality of it all.

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Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,584,091 — Total deaths: 349,894 — Total recoveries — 2,284,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,301 — Total deaths: 98,875 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: CDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.