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‘I want to help humans genetically modify themselves’


Josiah Zayner, 36, recently made headlines by becoming the first person to use the revolutionary gene-editing tool Crispr to try to change their own genes. Part way through a talk on genetic engineering, Zayner pulled out a syringe apparently containing DNA and other chemicals designed to trigger a genetic change in his cells associated with dramatically increased muscle mass. He injected the DIY gene therapy into his left arm, live-streaming the procedure on the internet.
The former Nasa biochemist, based in California, has become a leading figure in the growing “biohacker” movement, which involves loose collectives of scientists, engineers, artists, designers, and activists experimenting with biotechnology outside of conventional institutions and laboratories.
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End of the road for Myriad gene patent fight


The molecular diagnostics company Myriad Genetics has put an end to a long battle to defend controversial patents on genetic tests for cancer risk. Several of the companies Myriad was suing for patent infringement announced settlements this week, and The New York Times reports that the company is in discussions to settle the remaining suits. In a high-profile 2013 decision, the Supreme Court invalidated many of Myriad’s key patents by declaring human genes to be unpatentable products of nature. But as other companies began to develop and market competing genetic tests, Myriad sued several of them, claiming that certain patents had not been invalidated by the decision. Myriad’s targets included the firms LabCorp, Ambry Genetics, and Quest Diagnostics. Continue Reading →

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