Researchers in Oregon report they have successfully genetically modified a human embryo (don’t worry, they were destroyed a couple of days later). They used a technique known as CRISPR where gene-editing chemicals are injected into a human egg at the moment of fertilization. In this case, scientists were correcting DNA errors present in the father’s sperm.
This is the first time this experiment is conducted in the US, researchers here have been watching in awe, envy and with alarm as the procedure was previously attempeted in China.
It is believed the US team has broken new ground due to the number of embryos experimented on as well as the ability to safely and efficiently correcting defective genes that cause inherited diseases. This is the first of many milestones to be reached in creating genetically modified humans.
Why it’s hot:
- The objective of human gene modification is to potentially erradicate or correct genes that cause hereditary diseases.
Why it’s not hot:
- Eliminating hereditary diseases is one thing, creating designer babys a whole other ethical debate.