Genome editing leads to discoveries about embryo development
Article: Genome editing reveals role of gene important for human embryo development
By: The Francis Crick Institute
Published September 20, 2017
Click here for the full article.
With the help of CRISPR/Cas9 researchers have been able to locate genes that have a huge impact on specific functions within the human body. More recently, scientists have halted a key gene from producing a protein OCT4. Scientists used surplus embryos (41 to be exact) donated to science by couples who had had IVF treatment and froze their embryos. A conclusion was made that a developing human embryo needs OCT4 in order to properly form a healthy blastocyst. Additionally, OCT4 has been found in pluripotent stem cells. This has lead to a revelation on why some women are unable to get pregnant. The It also leads to questions on how or why an embryo develops incorrectly.
The discovery on the importance of OCT4 can help pharmaceutical companies develop a drug to help activate the production of OCT4 if a woman is lacking its production. In return a woman would be able to have a child. With further tests done on OCT4 in stem cells we will better understand the development of a healthy embryo.
Blastocyst, Stem cells