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undergroundnewsroom.com December 15, 2017


Scientists Just Successfully Edited the First Human Embryo Ever in The US

28 July 2017, 12:29 | Rodolfo Quinn

The power to change your DNAEQUINOX GRAPHICS SCIENCE

The power to change your DNAEQUINOX GRAPHICS  SCIENCE

The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon, MIT Technology Review has learned.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov, head of OHSU's Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy and lead author on the research, explains that their study made use of the innovative technology CRISPR.

The research done at Oregon Health and Science University did not allow the human embryos to develop for more than a few days.

Some countries have signed a convention prohibiting the practice on concerns it could be used to create so-called designer babies.

One prominent genetics expert, Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, said gene editing of embryos is "an unstoppable, inevitable science, and this is more proof it can be done".

The technique, which has the ability to permanently modify genes in organisms, can selectively trim away parts of the genome that is deemed unwanted to replace it with new stretches of DNA. The team's results are still pending publication, so we'll likely hear more details about the study in the future.

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Technology that allows adjustment of genes in a human embryo has been used for the first time in the United States.

In December 2015, a group of worldwide scientists and ethicists, including some from China, assembled by the US National Academy of Sciences said it would be irresponsible to use DNA editing tools to alter the genomes of human embryos, eggs, or sperm until safety, ethical and legal issues were resolved.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a courageous 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.

But Mitalipov's research, if it passes peer review, would be a significant step for American scientists. CRISPR is a very precise gene-editing tool, but it can sometimes lead to editing errors. "I don't think it's the start of clinical trials yet, but it does take it further than anyone has before", said a scientist familiar with the project. Scientists and bioethicists should agree on rules on what should and should not be done, and then make sure that editors of scientific journals enforce them. But Mitalipov was able to "significantly" reduce mosaicism, according to MIT Technology Review.

The approach has been used previously to edit the HBB gene responsible for a condition called β-thalassaemia.



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