Slides from all presentations delivered by invited guest speakers at the ARRIGE Kick-Off meeting in Paris on 23 March 2018 are ready and available for consultation from the corresponding ARRIGE meeting web page. These slides have been generously shared by the speakers. Please contact the corresponding speaker if you would like to refer, cite or use any of these materials. Tomorrow we will release the corresponding video files for all sessions and talks at the ARRIGE Kick-Off meeting in Paris.
Anyone interested in the prokaryotic origins of the CRISPR systems and their transformation into the most efficient ever known genome editing tools should consider visiting this CRISPR web page at CNB-CSIC, maintained by Lluis Montoliu. This is a most useful and regularly updated web repository of publications, information, history, protocols, procedures, talks, videos, etc… all about CRISPR and their use as genome editing tool in a variety of applications.
In this short video interview (in Spanish), as a brief summary of a much longer text in El País newspaper, the journalist visits Francisco J. M. Mojica (University of Alicante, Spain) who shows the saltworks of Santa Pola, near Alicante, where he first described the CRISPR arrays from an archaea, 25 years ago. Francis Mojica coined the name of CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) at the end of 2001 and, two years later discovered that CRISPR were part of an adaptive immune system developed by prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) as a defense mechanism against the virus (bacteriophages) and other molecules of genetic material that infected or visited them. Ten years later, the CRISPR bacterial immune system was transformed into an efficient genome editing tool.
Yesterday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement in favour of Plant Breeding Innovation. In the US, the USDA will not regulate genome-edited plants (obtained, for example, through CRISPR tools), as long as they are not pest plants or developed using plant pests, and as long as the resulting genetic alleles could have been also introduced by any traditional breeding technique. In other words, if the CRISPR-derived allele matches an allele previously existing in nature the resulting genome edited plants will not be regulated by USDA. This decision is expected to favour Plant Breeders and researchers in the field of Plant Breeding innovation and is also expected to expedite the development of numerous genome edited plants resistant to drought and diseases or with increased nutritional value.
In Europe some hints towards a similar direction have been seen last January, with the publication of an Opinion by the EU lawyer of the Court of Justice of the European Union on a recent dispute ongoing in France. However, to date, the European Commission, through the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) has not yet issued a final decision on the subject.
Science magazine is featuring the ARRIGE initiative in an interesting article by Martin Enserink. The journalist talked to Hervé Chneiweiss, Peter Mills and Lluís Montoliu on the past Friday ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris, and also contacted Sheila Jassanoff, who had presented a similar global proposal for genome editing governance in another article published in Nature last week.
The ethicist Mylène Botbol-Baum, from the Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium, and member of the INSERM Ethics Committee, delivered an interesting lecture at the recent ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris. Her talk was on ‘Taking seriously the anthropological and societal impact of genome editing technologies’ where she presented several aspects on the conversation of genome editing with the Society. She referred to the common use of metaphores and the conflict of narratives when trying to communicate these scientific advances.