January 20, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

CRISPR baby

7 min read

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 it really a good time to be pushing CRISPR babies? The original “CRISPR baby guy” He Jiankui was recently sentenced to three years in prison for a variety of actions …Read More

5 min read

Two prominent scientists, Robin Lovell-Badge and George Daley, have been amongst the most outspoken proponents of leaving the door open to heritable human genetic modification via CRISPR. While they each have articulated their reasons in somewhat different ways at times, their core reasons arguing in favor of future heritable CRISPR appear largely the same. In this post I tackle each of these arguments in favor of leaving the door open to “CRISPR babies” with science-based counterarguments. I also raise larger risks to going down …Read More

5 min read

What happens next to He Jiankui (贺建奎) or as some people now refer to him, the “CRISPR baby guy”? China has a challenging situation to resolve here, but such conflicts between scientists and governments have happened regularly in history. When scientists go “rogue” (i.e. don’t conform to norms or ethical standards in an extreme way or potentially break laws), governments are often unsure what to do. Also, who decides what’s “rogue”? Where is the line between positive transformative science and something that is really wrong? …Read More

4 min read

For a long time at the end of each year, I’ve been making stem cell predictions for the coming year. Most often I’ve been making a “top 20” list of predictions and today’s post has my list for 2019. You can see how I did for 2018 here, which might have been my best year ever for predictions. We’ll see if I can match that here for 2019. I doubt it. However, I do think my prediction that 2019 will be the worst year …Read More

5 min read

Each year I make a list of stem cell predictions for the following year and I’ll release my predictions for 2019 soon, but first I’m grading how my 20 predictions for 2018 turned out. It seems I did better than usual predicting what would happen this year. I only got a couple partial credit or were hard to grade. The rest were right. Here are my 20 predictions verbatim that I made in late 2017 for what would happen in 2018. 1. Combo cell-gene …Read More

4 min read

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 are saying outside the public domain. Do some of them disagree with each other? There have been mixed messages. The new piece, entitled, Wake-up call from Hong Kong, gets a …Read More

4 min read

Could He Jiankui have faked part or all of his CRISPR babies story? If so, how? Why? Or to put it another way, almost everyone seems to be assuming the story is real, but should we be more skeptical? Should we flip things around and assume the story isn’t entirely kosher until proven otherwise? I once said that the CRISPR field feels like it moves in dog years (very fast!) Consistent with that warp speed, the last 2 weeks have felt more like months. In …Read More

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