Using CRISPR to Cure Rare Form of Blindness, Taiwan Bans Many Plastics & a Plan to Restore Oceans



We are focusing on some much needed good news today.


1. CRISPR advances. For the first time, scientists used the gene-editing tool CRISPR inside a human body to repair mutations in the CEP290 gene that causes a rare form of inherited blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis type 10. Most people with this mutation are born blind or become blind early in life. It's an important milestone for the gene-editing tool which may eventually revolutionize how we treat a variety of illnesses.

Oregon Health & Science University: “Being able to edit genes inside the human body is incredibly profound,” said Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D., who leads OHSU’s involvement in the trial.... “Beyond potentially offering treatment for a previously untreatable form of blindness, in vivo gene editing could also enable treatments for a much wider range of diseases.”

2. Taiwan goes to war with single-use plastics. We have detailed the harm that plastic waste causes within our environment in several recent articles.

Illuminate: "Plastic waste is everywhere on our planet now, from the deepest parts of our oceans to the tops of the highest mountains on earth. We are literally drowning in the stuff. It's polluting our oceans and rivers, filling our landfills and spoiling our beaches, and it's responsible for killing over 1 million marine animals each year including sea turtles, sharks, birds and fish. And, there is increasing evidence that it's impacting our health."
Oliver Chen, Zaysan: “People are increasingly aware that nanoplastics not only kill marine animals, but also endanger humans. In California, the United States, people tested mineral water in plastic bottles and found that 93% of the water was nanoparticle Pollution. People drink these particles with water and don’t know whether they can be discharged or stored in the body.“

Taiwan has now joined the European Union, Canada and other nations in passing legislation to completely phase out the use of single-use plastic products like grocery bags, straws and disposable drink cups.

Zaysan: "Taiwan launched a phased plan: from 2019, all restaurants will no longer use plastic straws, will eliminate disposable plastics from 2025, and completely stop selling these plastic products from 2030."

3. Plan to restore our oceans. Many of the world's leading marine scientists, from 10 countries and 16 universities, collaborated to create a positive, forward-looking plan to restore our oceans by 2050. Their research was published in the journal Nature, and reviewed by Phys.org yesterday. In reviewing past conservation efforts, they found that our oceans and sea-life are resilient and that we still have time to save them for future generations.

Phys.org: "By studying the impact of previously successful ocean conservation interventions and recovery trends, the researchers identified nine components integral to rebuilding marine life, salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, kelp, oyster reefs, fisheries, megafauna and the deep sea."
"By stacking a combination of six complementary interventions called "recovery wedges," the report identifies specific actions within the broad themes of protecting species, harvesting wisely, protecting spaces, restoring habitats, reducing pollution and the mitigation of climate change."

However, they warn that without significant efforts to mitigate climate change, much of their plan will be impossible. "The goal of rebuilding the abundance of marine life can only succeed if the most ambitious goals within the Paris [Climate] Agreement are reached."


#news #environment #crispr #health #climatechange

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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