Monday, July 31, 2017

First human embryos are edited in the US in a controversial step towards creating 'designer babies'

A controversial technique that lets scientists 'edit' genes in a human embryo has been successfully used for the first time in the U.S. CRISPR which stands for Clustered Regularly Inter-spaced Palindromic Repeats is a cut and paste gene editing technique for making precise edits in DNA. CRISPR works by trimming the unwanted parts of a genome and replacing them with new DNA. This technique means diseases such as cancer, HIV, and other genetic diseases can be treated and even better genetic defects can be corrected in the embryonic development of a baby. Researches from the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland carried out the study according to MIT's technology review. So far, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China. But this experiment is believed to have broken new ground because the embryos are allowed to develop for more than just a few days. Results of the peer-reviewed study are expected to be published soon in a scientific journal, according to OHSU spokesman Eric Robinson. CRISPR however is highly controversial facing oppositions from religious, civil society and biotech groups.

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