July 10, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Huntington’s Disease CRISPR

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

3 min read

The second session at our CRISPR meeting was really powerful. As with other posts from the UC Davis CRISPR meeting, since I was taking notes on the fly during this session, this post is a stream of bits from the different talks, often trying to capture the essence of key questions or ideas as the speakers talked so forgive the format. Overall from this session, the potential future somatic-gene therapy kind of use of CRISPR for catastrophic, fatal diseases such as Huntington’s Disease is something …Read More

2 min read

Both before and particularly now after the big human gene editing summit in Washington, D.C. at the National Academy of Sciences, I’ve talked with patients about their views on this new technology including at last week’s World Stem Cell Summit. One of the most striking moments of the DC summit was when the mother of a pediatric patient made the comment after a talk about human gene editing that if it could be helpful with genetic diseases, “just freakin do it!” A lot of …Read More

11 min read

Below is a conversation with bioethics commentator Kelly Hills (who BTW has a great blog), tackling some of the key issues surrounding the potential use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to make heritable human genetic modification. I really appreciate her clear and insightful answers to some tough questions that many are grappling with today on this topic. Part of the possible power of some forms of human genetic modification procedures being considered for potential future use is that they are heritable. This means, for example, that embryonic …Read More