December 1, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

3-parent baby

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

6 min read

Are designer babies made using CRISPR or other genetic modification technologies closer to reality today? If so, what exactly should we do about it? Researchers can use CRISPR to genetically modify just about any organism or its cells, but targeting humans is the subject of the most intense discussion including using CRISPR in the human germline for heritable “editing” or genetic modification of humans. This could in theory be done via human embryos or human germ cells with mostly existing technology. CRISPR studies on healthy human …Read More

4 min read

Earlier this week New Scientist broke the news that the first baby born after Maternal Spindle Transfer (a form of mitochondrial replacement) is already five months old, and even more, he seems to be doing well. Even when John Zhang’s team has achieved a world first, I agree with Dr. Alison Murdoch in that: “The translation of mitochondrial donation to a clinical procedure is not a race but a goal to be achieved with caution to ensure both safety and reproducibility”. At the moment …Read More

4 min read

Today we got the first report of a baby being born via so-called “3-person IVF”, sometimes called 3-parent IVF, in which the DNA of three people contribute to an offspring. Before discussing this further I have to emphasize that we need proof that this is indeed really a 3-person IVF baby via genetic testing. Until that data is released publicly we should all be cautious on this news. Apparently the clinic plans to present such data later. Assuming it is a 3-person IVF baby, which …Read More