Human embryo edited for first time in United States, pushes limits ars_ab.settitle(1138745)

Scientists genetically a modify human embryo for the first time

Researchers have reportedly edited the genomes of human embryos using a technique called CRISPR.

By altering the DNA code of human embryos, Technology Review explained, scientists hope to eradicate or correct genes that cause hereditary conditions, such as blood disease beta-thalassemia.

So far, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.

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

The experiment was just an exercise in science - the embryos were not allowed to develop for more than a few days and were never meant to be implanted into a womb, according to MIT Technology Review, which first reported the news.

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.

USA researchers have successfully carried out gene editing on human embryos using the revolutionary technique known as CRISPR, the first time the procedure has been performed in the USA, a report said on Thursday (July 27).

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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. They said although basic and preclinical research should be allowed, edited human embryos should not be used to establish a pregnancy.

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

When reached by MIT Technology Review, Mitalipov declined to comment on the results, which he said are pending publication.

Scientists familiar with the new United States work told MIT Technology Review that the OR team has improved these issues.

For many, one of the most important reasons behind editing human embryos is that it has the potential to prevent genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis or Huntington's disease, which are caused by mutations in a single gene and could be fixed using CRISPR.

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

But in March this year, that academy and the American Medical Academy said in a new report that recent advances in the field "opened up a realistic possibility that deserves serious consideration".

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