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CRISPR pioneer Doudna envisions a world of woolly mammoths and unicorns

In new book, biochemist Jennifer Doudna envisions a world of woolly mammoths, winged lizards, and unicorns as CRISPR "allows us to bend nature to our will."
Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley

If there was one misstep that doomed the long and bitter fight by the University of California to wrest key CRISPR patents from the Broad Institute, it was star UC Berkeley scientist Jennifer Doudna’s habit of being scientifically cautious, realistic, and averse to overpromising.

A biochemist who co-led a breakthrough 2012 study of CRISPR-Cas9, Doudna repeatedly emphasized in interviews the challenges of repurposing the molecular system, which bacteria use to fend off viruses, to edit human genomes. The U.S. patent office, in a February ruling that let the Broad keep its CRISPR patents (for now), relied heavily on those statements — “We weren’t sure if CRISPR/Cas9 would work in … animal cells,” for example — to conclude that when scientists

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