Published: Fri, July 28, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

DNA of human embryos edited for 1st time in US

DNA of human embryos edited for 1st time in US

Several groups around the world are working on gene editing in human embryos, using the revolutionary CRISPR technique.

For the first time in the United States, scientists have edited the genes of human embryos, a controversial step toward someday helping babies avoid inherited diseases.

Previous reports of editing human embryos were all by scientists in China.

Now a team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University is about to publish details of a bigger study based on editing "many tens" of embryos.

The embryos, which were modified to test the feasibility of fixing known disease-causing genes, were terminated days after the experiment. This gene modification process is referred to as germline engineering, since a person carrying the altered genes would pass the changes on to any offspring they had, via their own eggs or sperm (germ cells).

The practice raises a lot of ethical concerns, after all, with critics being especially anxious that it could lead to designer babies.

A team of US researchers for the first time ever edited human embryo DNA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Tech Review revealed Wednesday.

Fox News Semi-Corrects the Lie It Fed to Trump
Fox, in a statement, said neither its initial report nor subsequent coverage on the air was inaccurate. If Thomas was wrong, the paper should take its case to him, not to Fox News.

Sears Begins To Sell Kenmore Brand Appliances On Amazon
It's not clear when other Kenmore smart appliances, like its refrigerator, washer and dryer, will become available on Amazon. CEO Eddie Lampert said the company's brand will benefit from reaching a wider group of customers.

Rex Tillerson has no plans to step down, official says
It is customary to list "no public appointments" when a secretary is on a personal vacation، according to The Associated Press. The former ExxonMobil CEO's office said Tuesday that he was taking a few days off after a tasking travel schedule.

Now Mitalipov's team has apparently managed to reduce the rate of mosaicism by injecting the CRISPR machinery at an earlier stage, at the same time as the eggs were fertilised with sperm.

Last year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report that added genome editing to a list of weapons of mass destruction and proliferation, saying it "increases the risk of the creation of potentially harmful biological agents or products". But it is not clear what disease or genes were edited. Mitalipov refused to comment on the results of the project, but some of his collaborators already confirmed them to the publication.

"It is proof of principle that it can work".

"The results of this study will be published soon in a scientific journal".

"They significantly reduced mosaicism", explained one researcher, who chose to remain anonymous.

In February, the US National Academy of Sciences released a report, endorsing the use of gene editing, but only for "serious conditions under stringent oversight".

Successfully editing genes in human embryos could theoretically lead to scientists being able to cure any number of diseases, including cancer.

Like this: