July 14, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

CRISPR baby

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

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

3 min read

There’s a questionable notion floating around out there in the numerous discussions over heritable human genetic modification. This idea goes that if germline human gene editing goes awry for any number of reasons, scientists could simply reverse it by applying genetics again. The reversal notion does not fit with the reality of science as we know them today and could be harmful in giving false reassurance of the safety of genome modification. To put it another way, you can’t retract a designer baby or …Read More