First Gene-Edited Human Embryos in the US

28 Июля, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Clint Gray
  • The technology could used to give IVF embryos 'beneficial' genetic traits such as better eyesight

In a step that some of the nation's leading scientists have long warned against and that has never before been accomplished, biologists in OR have edited the DNA of viable human embryos efficiently and apparently with few mistakes, according to a report in Technology Review.

For the first time ever, American scientists have successfully edited the DNA of a human embryo - in the attempt to correct genes that cause inherited diseases, a report says.

The experiments are a milestone in journey towards the birth of the first genetically modified humans, according to the "MIT Technology Review".

In theory, the technique could also be used to create "designer" babies with specific desirable qualities, such as eye color or strength, and possibly even greater intelligence, a prospect that has sparked a lively ethical debate in the scientific community and beyond.

According to OHSU spokesperson Eric Robinson, the result of the peer-reviewed study are expected to be published soon in a scientific journal.

They said it would be "irresponsible" to use gene editing technology in human embryos for therapeutic purposes. It's like using a molecular scissors to cut and paste DNA, and is much more precise than some types of gene therapy that can not ensure that desired changes will take place exactly where and as intended.

Scientists in China have previously published similar studies with mixed results.

Читайте также: Indian Women's Cricket Team Receives Immense Reception from Crowd at Mumbai

The embryos, which were modified to test the feasibility of fixing known disease-causing genes, were terminated days after the experiment.

An unnamed scientist familiar with the work told MIT Technology Review that it was "proof of principle that it can work".

'I don't think it's the start of clinical trials yet, but it does take it further than anyone has before'.

"To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China", freelance journalist Steve Connor wrote, outlining the stakes of the research.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a fearless new world of "designer babies" engineered with genetic enhancements-a prospect bitterly opposed by a range of religious organizations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.

The news follows a report earlier this year by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, which essentially gave a green light to researchers to use gene editing to treat or prevent inherited disease. CRISPR is a very precise gene-editing tool, but it can sometimes lead to editing errors. It's unclear what illnesses were involved exactly, but they used sperm donated by subjects with various inheritable diseases.

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