The gene-editing tool CRISPR promises major scientific advances, but it has been held back by concerns about the precision of its editing and the ethics of making permanent changes to DNA. Now, two new scientific papers describe new tools that potentially get around these technical and ethical concerns.
Why it matters: CRISPR gene editing has the potential to cure many genetic illnesses. It's potential is only just being tapped, but so far it's been used to engineer better tomatoes, change the colors of butterfly wings, test for diseases and has even been used to edit human embryos. The main roadblocks have been the technical and ethical problems — which could be solved if the new techniques allow for more accurate and less risky gene editing.