Saturday, January 16th, 2021

The World Just Got Another Step Closer to Creating GMO Humans

Published on February 8, 2016 by   ·   1 Comment



Scientists in Britain have recently been given the green light to edit the genes of human embryos for research, leading to fears the practice could lead to “designer babies.”

Chinese scientists set off a firestorm of controversy a year ago when they announced they had begun genetically modifying human embryos. Now, British researcher Kathy Niakan, from London’s Francis Crick Institute has a received a license to carry out similar experiments.

“Our license committee has approved an application by Kathy Niakan of the Francis Crick Institute to renew her laboratory’s research license to include gene editing of embryos,” the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said in a statement.

Niakan will begin editing embryos using the CRISPR-Cas90 technique, which allows scientists to edit out part of the DNA code so that scientists can see if it was needed. [1]

The embryos must be destroyed within 14 days and can only be used for basic research. [2]

Niakan and her colleagues want to deactivate genes in leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics to find out if it deters development.

About 50% of fertilized eggs do not develop properly and scientists believe that faulty genetic code is to blame. Scientists say that if they could determine which genes are crucial for cell division, it would allow them to screen out embryos with faulty DNA, potentially reducing miscarriages and aiding in fertility.

“We would really like to understand the genes that are needed for an embryo to develop into a healthy baby,” Niakan told a briefing in central London last month.

“Miscarriage and infertility are extremely common but they are not very well understood. We believe that this research could improve our understanding of the very earliest stages of human life. [3]

The initial pilot will include as many as 30 embryos, and the researchers would like to on another 3 genes, which could bring the total to 120. The experiment must first pass an ethics evaluation.

Ethics are at the center of the gene editing controversy and the global outrage that followed the Chinese scientists’ announcement. Critics fear that allowing embryos to be edited could eventually lead to designer babies and genetically modified humans.


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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Yan Bilodeau Yan Bilodeau says:

    What the fucking hell

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