In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes In Human Embryos

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Publish Date:
August 2, 2017
Author(s):
  • Belluck, Pam
Source:
The New York Times
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Summary

Scientists for the first time have successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a common and serious disease-causing mutation, producing apparently healthy embryos, according to a study published on Wednesday.

The research marks a major milestone and, while a long way from clinical use, it raises the prospect that gene editing may one day protect babies from a variety of hereditary conditions.

Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford, said creating fewer defective embryos also would reduce the number discarded by fertility clinics, which some people oppose.

“If you’re in one camp, it’s a horror to be avoided, and if you’re in the other camp, it’s desirable,” Dr. Greely said. “That’s going to continue to be the fight, whether it’s a feature or a bug.”

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