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Scientist can edit human embryos

2016-02-13 04:53

Scientist can edit human embryos

A U.K. researcher has gotten a green light to modify human embryos (pictured, 4 days after fertilization).

Developmental biologist Kathy Niakan has received permission from U.K. authorities to modify human embryos using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology.
Niakan, who works at the Francis Crick Institute in London, applied for permission to use the technique in studies to better understand the role of key genes during the first few days of human embryo development. The debate about the ethics of editing embryonic genomes has raged for several years; critics say studies such as Niakan셲 could be the first step toward 쐂esigner babies or even eugenics. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which grants licenses for work with human embryos, sperm, and eggs in the United Kingdom, approved Niakan셲 application at a meeting of HFEA셲 license committee on 14 January. The minutes of that meeting state that [o]n balance, the proposed use of CRISPR/Cas9 was a justified technical approach to obtaining research data about gene function from the embryos used.

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Source : Science Magazine, Feb 2016