dglobalnews.com DNA of human embryos edited for 1st time in US
Published: Fri, July 28, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

DNA of human embryos edited for 1st time in US

DNA of human embryos edited for 1st time in US

The effort involved changing the DNA of a group one-cell human embryos with the "cut and paste" gene-editing technique, known as CRISPR.

OPB was not immediately able to independently confirm the breakthrough.

Results of the peer-reviewed study are expected to be published soon in a scientific journal, according to OHSU spokesman Eric Robinson.

For the first time ever, American scientists have successfully edited the DNA of a human embryo - in the attempt to correct genes that cause inherited diseases, a report says.

The object of altering human embryonic DNA is to correct or eliminate genes that lead to inherited diseases, such as the blood disorder beta-thalassemia.

Many critics are anxious that the practice could lead to "designer babies" that are engineered with genetic enhancements.

"To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China", it said.

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The milestone means scientists in the United States are officially one step closer to engineering the first genetically modified human beings on earth.

"The concept of altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes has been debated over many years from many different perspectives, and has been viewed nearly universally as a line that should not be crossed", Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health said in April 2015.

A scientist who is familiar with the project but chose to remain anonymous said: "It is proof of principle that it can work". Technology Review could not determine which disease genes had been chosen for editing.

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland carried out the study, according to MIT's Technology Review. 'They significantly reduced mosaicism.

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". "I don't think it's the start of clinical trials yet, but it does take it further than anyone has before".

Earlier this year however, NAS and the National Academy of Medicine said scientific advances make gene editing in human reproductive cells 'a realistic possibility that deserves serious consideration'. But it is not clear what disease or genes were edited.

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