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Science & Technology

Scientists repair mutations in human embryos

By T.K. Randall
September 29, 2017 · Comment icon 9 comments

Could this spell the end for genetic disease ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Nogas1974
For the first time ever, a method known as 'chemical surgery' has been used to fix a faulty human gene.
Researchers in China have succeeded in correcting a single error in more than three billion 'letters' of our genetic code to remove a blood disorder known as beta thalassemia from human embryos.

The breakthrough means that it may one day be possible for parents to have genetic diseases removed from their children before they are even born.

The controversial research, while illegal in most countries, demonstrates that the technique, which is known as 'base editing' or 'chemical surgery', really works.
"For many years, we have been saying that direct gene editing in embryos is some way in to the future," said geneticist Darren Griffin. "Now the future is here and there is much to consider."

"While this is undoubtedly a highly significant advance, it is important not to get carried away about its widespread utility if put into clinical practice. An embryo would still need to be diagnosed as abnormal, then the base editor applied, then re-diagnosed to make sure that it had worked. This would be an involved procedure that would be very expensive."

"In the meantime, the ethical implications of gene manipulation in embryos need a thorough examination where safety is of paramount concern."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by FlyingAngel 6 years ago
Awsome! This will lead to a perfect human species with 0 disease!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
If stupidity can be cured......†
Comment icon #3 Posted by Ashyne 6 years ago
Stupidity is a lack of knowledge and knowledge can be acquired.
Comment icon #4 Posted by qxcontinuum 6 years ago
this world wide virus must be cured first.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
Well, mine was just a silly comment. † Nope, ignorance is a lack of knowledge, sometimes confused with stupidity.† Close-mindeness can be "cured" by knowledge, but unfortunately with stupidy it's not as successful.† † There are stupid scholars, researchers and scientists and brilliant uneducated people.† † Now, defining what "stupidity" is, that's another topic altogether.† And it diverts considerably from my first silly comment.†
Comment icon #6 Posted by RayvenRed 6 years ago
Hitler would be so proud.†
Comment icon #7 Posted by Rlyeh 6 years ago
Of curing diseases?
Comment icon #8 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
We must remove the Hitler gene from embryos.
Comment icon #9 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
We need to eliminate the uncertainty gene. †Then people will accept...

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