October 21, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis

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

13 min read

CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is red-hot right now and I’ve been doing interviews with various thought leaders on it, which today includes Steven Pinker. This technology has great power for research in the lab and there are hypothetical transformative clinical applications of CRISPR too. The latter efforts could include experimental attempts at reversal of disease-causing mutations in one-cell embryos with the hope that they then grow into full-fledged, healthy human beings. Hypothetically CRISPR could also be used for pursuing human enhancement via germline genetic …Read More

4 min read

There is a big old blind spot in the discussion over germline gene editing in humans: preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). There’s been a lot of talk in 2015 about worries over how gene editing technology such as CRISPR might be used prematurely in the clinic in an unsafe or unethical manner in humans in the germline to try to prevent genetic disease. This is a very serious concern and I share it. However, in a way the dialogue on this usually misses a crucial, …Read More

4 min read

It’s been somewhat of a helter-skelter time for the new technology often referred to as 3-person IVF or mitochondrial transfer as the UK considers whether to legalize this experimental technology for use in humans. I believe that this technology is not ready now for use in humans and for more background on why as well as other opinions you can see articles here. The admirable goal of this experimental 3-person IVF approach is to prevent transmission of mitochondrial diseases from mother to child, but …Read More