The advances in computer science has managed to overshadow the technological advances made in almost every other discipline in the past few decades. Though we have made some serious advancements in computation, genetics has experience a similar exponential growth. Ars Technica reports that another great advancement has been made, scientists have been able to use bacteria to make changes to human DNA. Just as Ars cautions, this is not going to allow us to make vast post-human changes to DNA.
The mechanism used to make the change is tied to a bacterial defense system that uses enzymes to make changes to the cellular DNA. The researchers then reprogrammed this enzyme to target mammalian DNA, and trying to make changes to the Green Fluorescent Protein. They then compared using the bacterial system, called CRISPR, and just randomly inserting the altered genes. They found that the bacterial system performed significantly better. However again, this still only applies in a limited capacity.
Though excitement should be tempered this in an important step in harnessing the ability to alter DNA. Ars points out that the immediate benefit here is the ability to directly study mutations in genes with a more natural protein structure. Of course the longer term goal is to develop this process into something that can be used to treat genetic disorders.