Featured Project

October 24, 2018

Designing an accurate CRISPR-Cas9 testing model

This week, the 2018 International Genetically Engineered Machine competition is kicking off with a week of presentations, judging, and poster sessions where student research teams are sharing their experiments in molecular and synthetic biology. 

One of the teams participating this year is this group of 9 undergraduate students from the University of Michigan, and their campaign is 49% funded.

This experiment is developing a testing framework for more accurate CRISPR-Cas9 systems. Cas9 is the workhorse enzyme of the CRISPR system - it's a nuclease that cuts up DNA and allows scientists to target specific genes. Their aim is to help other scientists design better gene therapies using efficient and accurate tools.

Featured Results

Crowdfunded scientific discoveries

wild macaw chicks get foster parents

Foster care success for Scarlet Macaws

Back in January, we featured this project that wanted to give foster parents to wild Scarlet Macaw chicks that were abandoned after hatching late. The idea was to see if placing the late-hatching chicks in new nests could increase their survival rates and serve as a conservation method for the endangered bird species. 

The researchers isolated 15 freshly-hatched chicks in Peru, raised them by hand for several days, and then placed them in foster nests where they were closely monitored. Data was gathered on their weight, food consumption, and activity.

A poster was presented at the Wildlife Reintroduction Conference that shares some initial results. After 2 breeding seasons, they showed that 100% of the foster chicks were successfully accepted by their wild foster parents, and 93% developed into healthy birds. 

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