Research on Robust Bacteria Immune System, Serendipitously Led to CRSPR Gene-Editing

(p. C8) The author of “The Secret Body,” Daniel M. Davis, is another immunologist by trade.

. . .

Mr. Davis tells us how advances in microscopy have revealed unexpected structures inside human cells, and describes how efforts to map every cell type in the body have turned up a previously unknown tracheal cell that may be pivotal in understanding cystic fibrosis. The daunting structural complexity of the human brain, however, has thus far frustrated attempts to map out even minuscule portions of it.

A recurring theme in “The Secret Body” is “how a discovery of great medical significance [may begin] with relatively obscure research.” Recently, researchers found that bacteria boast a surprisingly robust immune system, which resists viral infection by attacking an intruding virus’s genes. Part of this system, the CRISPR complex, can be used to edit the genomes of human cells, even to tinker with the genetic makeup of embryos.

For the full review, see:

John J. Ross. “The Battle Inside Your Body.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021): C8.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date December 10, 2021, and has the title “The Defenders: Three Books on the Science of Immunity.”)

The book under review in the passages quoted above is:

Davis, Daniel M. The Secret Body: How the New Science of the Human Body Is Changing the Way We Live. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021.

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