August 8, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

human gene editing

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

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

9 min read

Human germline CRISPR raises major bioethical considerations, but what about technical issues? Setting aside the many ethical issue about the general idea of human modification itself, could this really work? Yes in theory it could, but there are some very tough technological challenges that could and likely would cause failures or unacceptable outcomes at many steps along the way. These failures or unacceptable outcomes could easily involve real, live people who could be harmed or die. It’s very different than simple in vitro research so …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