January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Search Results for: human embryo

6 min read

Three new studies reported in preprints all show severe DNA damage to human embryos from CRISPR a surprisingly high percentage of the time including in some cases loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Anywhere from about a quarter to half of CRISPR’d embryos exhibited major genome damage. As readers of The Niche know, I never was a fan of the idea of doing CRISPR on human embryos for reproductive use, although I have been supportive of limited, thoughtful in vitro gene-editing studies on human embryos. The …Read More

2 min read

In this post I list some recent interesting stem cell and science pubs including artificial human embryo research. Engineered human embryo research continues. Scientists for years have been advancing the types of embryo-like structures made from both human and other creature’s cells. In a new Nature Cell Bio pub entitled, “A 3D model of a human epiblast reveals BMP4-driven symmetry breaking”, a team led by Eric Siggia pushed this further. See an image from the paper I’ve included that shows signs of the primitive …Read More

4 min read

My first job in science was as a lab technician at UCSD School of Medicine and a big part of that job was growing cells called HUVECs or human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We isolated and grew the HUVECs from umbilical cords that we retrieved from the maternity ward of the UCSD hospital, which first entailed getting the placenta and attached umbilical cord as our starting material. Some people viewed this material as “gross”, but as a newbie scientist I was kind of in …Read More

8 min read

The debate over whether the main conclusions of the Nature paper on human embryo CRISPR led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s lab at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) are correct remains unresolved. Note that Nature just added an editorial alert just above the references section to their paper: “Updated online 02 October 2017. Editorial Note: Readers are alerted that some of the conclusions of this paper are subject to critiques that are being considered by editors. Some of these critiques have been publicly deposited in preprint form. A further …Read More

5 min read

Scientist make knockout human embryos with CRISPR? Today we see a new Nature paper (Fogarty, et al.) on CRISPR “gene editing” of human embryos, this time from the UK from Kathy Niakan’s group. Niakan got UK permission about 18 months ago to CRISPR healthy human embryos so they’ve been hard at work since. Because Fredrik Lanner of Sweden (see my interview here) also has governmental permission to CRISPR healthy human embryos, I’m guessing we’ll see a paper from his lab soon too. If I …Read More

7 min read

What really happened at the DNA level in the experiments in that high-profile CRISPR of human embryos paper from a team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov at OHSU? Is the team right that they successfully conducted CRISPR of human embryos to correct a mutant gene, as they reported in their Ma, et al. Nature paper? Or is the Egli, et al. preprint that came out later in response to the Ma paper more likely to be correct in their implied argument that something else very probably happened instead? We …Read More

2 min read

There has been a wave of intense discussions both in the public domain such as on Twitter and behind the scenes over the new Egli, et al. preprint that challenges the main conclusions of the Ma, et al. Nature paper from Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s lab. Ma, et al. reported CRISPR gene editing of human embryos, arguing for a mechanism of HDR-based gene editing relying on interaction of the maternal and paternal genomes in the early embryos. Egli, et al. presented several alternative explanations — mostly involving …Read More

6 min read

Is it possible that CRISPR gene editing actually didn’t happen in many of the human embryos in that big Nature paper that made such news a couple weeks back? Some doubts have emerged that call the main conclusions of the paper into question and argue that more definitive studies are needed to be sure. An international team of top scientists led by first author Dieter Egli has responded via a preprint on Biorxiv to that Mitalipov team high-profile Nature paper on CRISPR gene editing of …Read More

4 min read

The FDA sent a stern letter today to Dr. John Zhang, PhD, MD, the physician who last year created a genetically modified human embryo in the U.S. and then exported it to Mexico where he self-reported creating a genetically modified baby boy. While the genetically modified baby created in Mexico was reportedly seemingly OK, it’s not clear what kind of health issues he might face in the future and I haven’t seen much data on him. I believe his parents subsequently declined to have him participate …Read More

4 min read

In the same way perhaps that some excited relatives or parents-to-be both gush and worry about a baby before it is even born, our field has been transfixed for a week by the Mitalipov paper on CRISPR’ing human embryos even though the paper just now came out. Now that the paper is out, we can take a closer look at this “baby” and for us scientists that involves giving it a critical review. In science, “critical” often means a thorough once over with a …Read More