Welcome To The Bitchery

How One Man Tried to Write Women Out of CRISPR, the Biggest Biotech Innovation in Decades

So I just read this main page article:

I tried to write a tl;dr, but I was doing a really bad job of it, and I think the article is good enough that if you are interested you should just read that.


A couple of my thoughts...I’ve heard Jennifer Doudna speak twice, and both times I got the impression that she knew people would try to write her out of this discovery.

Also, the last time I heard her speak, Eric Lander (the man who is trying to give all the credit to Zhang) was the moderator of the session and introduced her. I wish I could remember the introduction better to see whether there was any tension I didn’t pick up on! That was in late October, so it would have been around the time he was preparing this paper.

I can’t help but wonder how much of this is due to her being a woman...after thinking about it, I feel like the initial reason that Lander is tying to solidify Zhang and the one true CRISPR god is because of the Broad Institute connection, but I feel like the fact that Doudna is a woman made it seem easier or more acceptable for him to do it.

ETA: CRISPR is like super near and dear to me. In 2013 when the Church and Zhang papers came out, I was a research technician trying to get into grad school. My boss set me up with the papers and gave me the project of using CRISPR to establish several stable cell lines, which I did. It was a huge part of what I wrote about in my applications and talked about in my interviews in early 2014 (that was when the field was really starting to explode and everyone was like, “well I guess we’re all going to have to get familiar with this.” and I was like “Yeah, I’ve used it sucessfully 6 times, so....”)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter