August 13, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

human embryo research

2 min read

The paper that came out Wednesday from a research group in China reporting the first genetic modification of human embryos has sparked a lot of discussion. Some concerns about this paper have surfaced. 2-day review? The paper (HT to John Borghi) was in review only from March 30-April 1 — so at most 48 hours. Really? That certainly raises a red flag of inadequate or absent peer review. That kind of “review” in the past with high-profile papers has been associated with a high risk of errors …Read More

4 min read

There is a big old blind spot in the discussion over germline gene editing in humans: preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). There’s been a lot of talk in 2015 about worries over how gene editing technology such as CRISPR might be used prematurely in the clinic in an unsafe or unethical manner in humans in the germline to try to prevent genetic disease. This is a very serious concern and I share it. However, in a way the dialogue on this usually misses a crucial, …Read More

3 min read

Should we be using the term ‘genetically modified human’ in discussions of heritable use of CRISPR in people? During the still ongoing discussions of genetic modification in the human germline and potentially in actual human beings in the future, an interesting, but difficult question has emerged: What words or names would be most appropriate for the community to use to refer to potential future human beings that have gene edits? I have up until now referred to such hypothetical people as “genetically modified humans” or …Read More

2 min read

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) just now released a new policy statement on human germline gene editing. The statement calls for a ban on clinical application of human germline gene editing technology. Here is the brief summary statement at the beginning: The International Society for Stem Cell Research calls for a moratorium on attempts at clinical application of nuclear genome editing of the human germ line to enable more extensive scientific analysis of the potential risks of genome editing and broader public …Read More