human embryo research

Monkey human embryo chimera Cell paper: exciting, ethically complex direction

human embryo chimera

A new Cell paper from an international team led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte pushes human embryo chimera embryo research further than ever before. It is both exciting work and raises many complex bioethics questions at the same time. What is a human embryo chimera? By way of background, chimeric human embryos contain a mixture …

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New lab-grown blastoids are strikingly similar to human embryos

blastoids nature paper figure 2

A new word has been added to the lexicon of human stem cell research – blastoids, aka “blastocyst-like structures.” Unlike the familiar three-layered embryo that emerges during the third week of prenatal development, the earlier blastocyst resembles a fluid-filled soccer ball, with a smear of cells on the interior face destined to develop into the …

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Heads up on Hui Yang, another potential aspiring CRISPR baby researcher

-Yui-Hang

Making a CRISPR baby is a controversial idea to even propose now for many reasons, yet even after He Jiankui’s train wreck some people have seemed eager to try it including apparently a scientist whose name perhaps many readers here are not so familiar with in this context: Professor Hui Yang. ‘CRISPR baby guys’ Is …

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Monkey-pig chimeras pub discouraging for similar human research toward organ transplants

pig-monkey-chimera-that-was-born-but-died

Michael Le Page over at The New Scientist reports on a new paper describing the birth of monkey-piglet chimeras. Unlike most such primate embryo chimeras formed in research in the past, these were allowed to be born. A litter of ten from the new monkey-pig research, two of which were chimeras, all rather quickly died …

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Levrier guest post on CRISPR Consensus Meeting – “we all must get involved in this debate”

Guillaume-Levrier

By Guillaume Levrier Human germline editing has been done before. It will be done again in the future, as it is relatively easy to perform. No mechanism with the de facto ability to prevent it from being organized has yet been designed, let alone implemented. But the fact that germline editing has, can, and will …

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Mixed messages on CRISPR babies from National Academies versus their experts: a look at new Science piece

National-Academy-CRISPR-Baby-article

Three national academy leaders have a new opinion piece in Science on what the community needs to do next regarding human germline editing now that we are most likely in the CRISPR babies era. Some of us have been wondering what the Academies and their empowered experts really think about this issue and what they …

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He Jiankui didn’t really gene edit those girls; he mutated them

CRISPR-gene-edit-vs-mutation-1

Did Chinese researcher He Jiankui really CRISPR gene edit the CCR5 gene in two embryos producing twin baby girls? In my opinion the answer is “no”, but probably not for the reason you might think at first. He proclaims gene edits He claimed he had made twin baby girls with “gene edits”, which I feel is unethical …

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Trying to connect the dots on CRISPR baby story paints a dark, cloudy picture

connect-the-dots

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 …

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Mitalipov rebuts CRISPR pub critiques: strengthens case, but puzzles remain

Ma-et-al.-2018-Nature-FIgure-1

Remember that Shoukhrat Mitalipov lab paper on the use of CRISPR in human embryos? It’s back in the news. One of the biggest stories of 2017 centered on a Nature paper (Ma, et al., see my quick, initial review shortly after it was published here) from Mitalipov’s lab claiming both efficient repair of a disease-causing …

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Mixed Nuffield Council Report Too Aspirational on Human Genetic Modification

Designer-baby

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 …

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