A new enzyme could make human gene editing more precise

Photo of CRISPR-Cas9 culture being done in a lab
Performing a CRISPR-Cas9 process. Photo: Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Scientists were able to alter an enzyme from a thermophilic bacteria so it can be used by CRISPR to edit human genes more effectively, per a study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday.

Why it matters: CRISPR is powerful but can sometimes cause large deletions or move DNA inadvertently. To make it more precise, researchers have been testing hundreds of new enzymes. Study author Feng Zhang says Cas12b's small size and precise targeting will enable it to be used for in vivo applications in primary human cells.

CEO of gene-editing company Editas Medicine unexpectedly resigns

Editas Medicine Katrine Bosley stands in front of a table in an office.
Katrine Bosley is stepping down as CEO of Editas Medicine. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Katrine Bosley is resigning as CEO of Editas Medicine, a biotechnology company working on pathways to use the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR for human treatments. The unexpected news drove down the company's stock price by 22%.

The big picture: Bosley's departure is not a good look for Editas, which bid adieu to its chief financial and medical officers in the past month. Gene editing has attracted controversy over the past few months, but Editas recently got federal approval to work on a small clinical trial to test the safety, tolerability and efficacy of a gene-editing medicine in patients who have a rare eye disorder.

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