Horizon Scanning

During the horizon scanning process, scientific publications are screened and evaluated to identify and analyze possible environmental effects of new technical developments and their applications in the field of genetic engineering/biotechnology considering the precautionary principle. The results of the horizon scanning are made available to the public in form of short summaries. It is an ongoing collection of current literature that does not claim to be complete and is continuously updated.
The current focus of the horizon scanning process can be found → here and a glossary with explanations of the most important terms can be found  here

A keystone gene underlies the persistence of an experimental food web

Ecosystems – the basics In an ecosystem, species interact directly or indirectly with each other, and thus establish a complex food web. We know that some species have a disproportionally large effect on the ecosystem, and are therefore known as keystone species. At the DNA level, previous studies indicate that genotypic variations affect diversity and […]

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Wheat with greatly reduced accumulation of free asparagine in the grain, produced by CRISPR/Cas9 editing of asparagine synthetase gene TaASN2

Scientists have successfully used CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors to reduce the content of the free amino acid asparagine in wheat. Free asparagine is present in higher concentrations in wheat grain. Acrylamide can be formed from this free asparagine, together with reducing sugars, when wheat products are heated. Acrylamide has been shown to have carcinogenic properties. In […]

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High-throughput functional variant screens via in vivo production of single-stranded DNA

This study presents a new genome editing method called “Retron Library Recombineering” (RLR). The new method uses so-called retrons to induce targeted changes in the genome of bacteria. Basics about retrons Retrons occur naturally in many different bacterial strains and are part of the bacterial immune system: they protect bacteria from certain viruses, so-called bacteriophages. […]

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Gene-drive suppression of mosquito populations in large cages as a bridge between lab and field

Scientists from Imperial College London tested gene drive (GD) mosquitoes in large experimental cages and published their findings in the scientific journal, Nature Communications. The GD mosquitoes were exposed to conditions reflecting those expected in natural conditions. The mosquito populations collapsed within a year. Basics from a previous study The study tested a gene drive […]

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Selective inheritance of target genes from only one parent of sexually reproduced F1 progeny in Arabidopsis.

Gene Drives in Plants CRISPR/Cas9-based gene drives have so far been described mainly in insects and mice. CRISRPR/Cas-GDs in plants have not yet been developed, as there are several biological hurdles to overcome at the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels: The activation of the HDR repair is necessary for a CRISPR/Cas-based gene drive (GD) […]

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Expanding the scope of plant genome engineering with Cas12a orthologs and highly multiplexable editing systems.

Variants of the gene scissors CRISPR/Cpf1, also known as CRISPR/Cas12a, from different types of bacteria were used in this study to simultaneously change several different genes in rice. This process is known as multiplexing. The scientists tested different strategies to alter as many genes as possible. A variant of the bacterium M. bovoculi, Mb2Cas12a, was […]

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