July 13, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

human germline modification

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

3 min read

A National Academies panel on human genome editing chaired by Alta Charo and Richard Hynes released its report today. While it covered both somatic and germline (heritable) human genetic modification, the latter topic is far more contentious. You can see the National Academies summary of their report here. You can read the full report here. On germline genetic modification using technologies such as CRISPR, the authors of the report carefully discussed potential benefits and risks to the use of this technology. On my first brief …Read More

2 min read

A draft agenda is now publicly available for the upcoming National Academy of Sciences (NAS) meeting on human gene editing. We now know a lot more about what to expect from this international gathering, which is called the International Summit on Human Gene Editing: A Global Discussion. The meeting will start on day 1 with context from David Baltimore as well as other scientists from around the world. There will be scientific background on the technology and information on applications. Social Implications will be …Read More

2 min read

UK biologist Kathy Niakan has asked governmental permission to make GM human embryos using CRISPR. Earlier this year, a research team in China crossed a scientific line for the first time in history by using gene editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9 to make genetically modified (GM) human embryos. Other researchers around the world including now one in the UK according to Reuters have expressed interest in creating GM human embryos too as a means to learn more about early human development. In many countries around …Read More