Scientists genetically a modify human embryo for the first time

First Human Embryos Edited in US

Shoukhrat Mitalipov is the first US -based scientist known to have edited the DNA of human embryos.

American Scientists have managed to edit and improve the DNA of human embryos in an effort to correct the gene defects that cause inherited diseases.

While scientists in China have used the same technology to genetically modify human embryos, this is believed to be the first attempt in the U.S.

Last year, Britain said some of its scientists could edit embryo genes to better understand human development.

According to MIT Technology Review, 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. The process is termed "germline engineering" because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells-the egg and sperm.

The practice raises a lot of ethical concerns, after all, with critics being especially anxious that it could lead to designer babies.

Sources told the school magazine that the team, led by US-based biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov, was able to safely inject gene-editing chemicals into human eggs near the moment of fertilization. They said although basic and preclinical research should be allowed, edited human embryos should not be used to establish a pregnancy.

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A scientist familiar with Mitalipov's project said the tests were "proof of principle that it can work".

The U.S. intelligence community previous year called CRISPR a potential "weapon of mass destruction".

According to OHSU spokesperson Eric Robinson, the result of the peer-reviewed study are expected to be published soon in a scientific journal.

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

"They significantly reduced mosaicism", explained one researcher, who chose to remain anonymous. Along with the National Academy of Medicine, the academy stated that scientific advances make gene editing in human reproductive cells "a realistic possibility that deserves serious consideration".

Experiments are in the works now in the USA using gene-edited cells to try to treat people with various diseases, but "in order to really have a cure, you want to get this at the embryo stage", he said.

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