October 1, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

designer babies

5 min read

When I was a little kid I played this game called “connect the dots” or “dot-to-dot”, where you draw a line from dot-to-dot in numerical order and at some point a picture starts to emerge. I think kids and even some adults still play this today. They even come in extreme versions with hundreds or thousands of dots now (see image of books). I always tried to guess what the picture would be as soon as possible and sometimes even before starting to draw …Read More

4 min read

Reports are out that a scientist in China has been working to make a CRISPR baby for some time and supposedly has made twin genetically modified babies. I see this work as unethical and dangerous. Just a couple years ago when I published my book GMO Sapiens on potential use of CRISPR in a heritable manner in humans, some people said it would only happen decades down the road if at all due to technological issues. I was too worried, they said. Others said no …Read More

4 min read

It’s an odd confluence of events this week that (A) the Nuffield Council, an ethics think tank, gives a thumbs up in a new report to heritable human genetic modification that would probably include using CRISPR in the same week that (B) a new paper reports that CRISPR can cause unpredictable genomic damage and several other concerning reports about possible CRISPR technology side effects or challenges have come out in the last few months. Talk about bad timing. They would probably counter my intro paragraph by saying …Read More

1 min read

Heritable CRISPR to be tried in humans sooner or later…or never? Will someone somewhere in the world try to use CRISPR gene editing or related technology to introduce heritable genetic changes into actual human beings in the next decade? I’m not talking about gene editing viable human embryos just for research which is already ongoing, but rather CRISPR’ing human embryos to then use to try to make babies who grow up to be adult humans with a specific genetic change. How likely is this? Take …Read More