Tuesday, August 1, 2017


CRISPER in America

MIT Technology Review reports the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the U.S. has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon. The effort at Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR. Until now, American scientists have watched as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice.
To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China. The results were poor.

The experienced researchers in this field of CRISPR-Cas9 is the Chinese Huang group. Their recent paper showed the lack of specificity of the CRISPR-Cas9 with unexpected and wide ranging deletions in the genome. Worse, Huang says that the paper was rejected by Nature and Science, in part because of ethical objections; both journals declined to comment on the claim. But Huang did say this: “If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100%. That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.”
Which is to say, they were afraid.

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