A team of researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) successfully used gene-editing technology to correct defective genes in a human embryo. This is the first report of safe, successful gene editing in the United States.
Led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, PhD, researchers used the CRISPR gene-editing technique, which allows scientists to remove segments of the genome and replace them with new segments of DNA. The edited embryos were not allowed to develop past a few days.
CRISPR and gene editing are controversial topics in the medical research world. The National Institutes of Health announced that it will not fund any use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos, and some countries have already signed a convention prohibiting the practice of editing embryonic genes over ethical concerns.
The results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in the near future.
Sources: Reuters, July 27, 2017; The Oregonian, July 27, 2017.