Since this journal launched in March 1996, biotech has become a US economic powerhouse. To reach its full potential over the next 25 years, touching all corners of the globe, it must become more inclusive.
25th Anniversary Collection
Nature Biotechnology asks a selection of faculty about the most exciting frontier in their field and the most needed technologies for advancing knowledge and applications.
The feasibility of recycling CO2 to biofuels in photosynthetic organisms will depend on advances in productivity and product-purification efficiency. Atsumi et al. improve the direct conversion of CO2 by engineering Synechococcus elongatus to produce isobutyraldehyde, which can be easily recovered from the production medium.
Spinal muscular atrophy is an autosomal recessive disease of motor neurons caused by lack of the SMN gene. Foust et al. achieve long-term correction of the disease phenotype in a mouse model by intravenous delivery of SMN using the viral vector scAAV9.
TALEs (transcription activator-like effectors) are transcription factors from the plant pathogen Xanthomonas that can be readily engineered to bind new DNA sequences of interest. Miller et al. use a truncated TALE linked to a nuclease domain to edit and regulate endogenous genes in human cells.
TALEs (transcription activator–like effectors) contain a large number of nearly identical repeats, which makes it difficult to synthesize new variants. Feng et al. describe a facile method for assembling TALEs and show TALEs' utility for activating expression of endogenous human genes.
A key obstacle to sequencing DNA as it passes through a nanopore is that the translocation rate is too fast to resolve individual bases. Cherf et al. solve this problem with an improved method for ratcheting DNA forward and backward through the nanopore using a DNA polymerase.
Protein nanopores are being developed as sensors that could perform rapid, electronic sequencing of long single molecules of DNA. Manrao et al. report the first demonstration of single nucleotide–resolution current traces from a nanopore, and show that these data can be mapped to known DNA sequences.
The genome of human cells is edited using the bacterial RNA-guided Cas9 endonuclease.
A toolbox for rapidly creating synthetic circuits that respond to past and present inputs opens new doors for cellular engineering.
Identification and assembly of genomes and genetic elements in complex metagenomic samples without using reference genomes
Sequencing the microbial species present in complex metagenomic samples is made easier with a method that groups genes by co-abundance.
RNA-seq data from single cells are mapped to their location in complex tissues using gene expression atlases based on in situ hybridization.
Protein-retention expansion microscopy of cells and tissues labeled using standard fluorescent proteins and antibodies
Improved expansion microscopy method preserves signal from fluorescent proteins and antibodies using off-the-shelf reagents.
Multiplexed and scalable super-resolution imaging of three-dimensional protein localization in size-adjustable tissues
Protease-free expansion of organ-size tissue enables multiplexed super-resolution imaging of protein organization from the tissue-wide scale down through the nanoscale.
Mice with targeted point mutations are generated efficiently using Cas9–cytidine deaminase fusions.
Human cerebral organoids undergo vascularization and maturation in the mouse brain.
A divalent siRNA chemical scaffold for potent and sustained modulation of gene expression throughout the central nervous system
A divalent siRNA architecture enables sustained silencing of gene expression in deep regions of the brain.
Primary macrophages engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors have anti-tumor activity in humanized mice.