A junior scientist formerly employed by the Broad Institute says the storied MIT-Harvard institution’s claim to have invented CRISPR gene editing isn’t accurate, and that the organization misled the patent office.
The former graduate student, Shuailiang Lin, made his accusations in an e-mail sent to Jennifer Doudna, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is Broad’s chief rival for scientific and commercial credit to CRISPR.
In the e-mail, sent on February 28, 2015, Lin called the Broad’s claims “a joke” and “unfair to me and [to] science history.”
The e-mail was sent as part of a job request to Doudna. In it, Lin, who is from China, seemed ready to barter inside information and assistance with the patent case in exchange for a job. “I am willing to give more details and records if you are interested or whoever is interested to clear the truth,” he said.
Lin says that in early 2011 he was the only lab member working on CRISPR and that the lab was not then able to sort out how to make the technique work, something he says he can document with lab notebooks, e-mails, and results that “recorded every step of the lab’s failure process.”