CRISPR Pioneer Jennifer Doudna Has the Guts to Take On the Microbiome
I see you, reader. You drink the probiotic seltzer, with its gut-improving bacteria, and the fiber-filled prebiotic. You regularly consume eclectic fermented foods and burly amounts of kale to diversify those precious microbes in your digestive tract. Because, after all, what isn’t the microbiome responsible for? It’s been all the rage for the past few years, with scientists hoping it could help treat everything from immune disorders to mental illness. How exactly that will work is something we’re just starting to explore.
This spring, the effort got a boost when UC Berkeley biochemist and gene-editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna, who won a Nobel Prize in 2020 for coinventing CRISPR, joined the pursuit. Her first order of business, spearheaded by Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute: fine-tuning our microbiome by genetically editing the microbes it contains while they’re still inside us to prevent and treat diseases like childhood asthma. Oh, she also wants to slow climate change by doing the same thing in cows, which are collectively responsible for a shocking amount of greenhouse gas.
Read the original article in Wired.