China’s CRISPR Push in Animals Promises Better Meat, Novel Therapies, and Pig Organs for People

July 31, 2019

(Science) – Ji, Niu, and colleagues were the first to harness CRISPR in monkeys, as they reported in 2014, and they remain leaders in the field. They’ve built on that success, exploiting CRISPR’s speed and precision to create monkey models of muscular dystrophy, autism, and cancer. In a tie with developmental biologist Yang Hui and co-workers at Shanghai’s Institute of Neuroscience (a branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS), they were first to use CRISPR in monkeys to introduce, or knock in, a gene—a particularly difficult feat that the two teams reported in back-to-back papers in 2018 in Cell Research. The team also collaborated with He Jiankui, well before the Chinese biophysicist created the first CRISPR-edited human babies.