Scientists Successfully Modify Genes of Human Embryos
On August 2, 2017, scientists in the United States have successfully modified human embryo’s genes to treat a mutation that causes disease. This modification in the genes will increase the possibility of preventing the defect from passing on the future generations of an individual. This has been a milestone for the scientists in the U.S. the news has been reported in the newspaper, released over the internet last month and has been confirmed by (OHSU) Oregon Health and Science University last week.
Oregon Health and Science University worked together with Korea’s Institute of Basic Science and the Salk Institute to make use of a technique called CRISPR-Cas9 that is used to treat a genetic transformation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Till date, published studies using this CRISPR-Cas9 method had earlier been conducted in China, however, had mixed results.
CRISPR-Cas9 typically work in the form of molecular scissors that are meant to selectively eliminate unwanted elements from the genome and later replace it with modified DNA stretches. An instructor of Gene Expression Laboratory in Salk, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, said that “we have tested the possibilities to treat and correct mutations taking place in a human embryo with meticulous safety and certain level of efficiency.”
To enhance the success rate, Juan’s team launched the genome altering components along with male sperms and targeted gene defect as the in vitro fertilization process took place. They figured out that the embryo utilized the healthy copy of the genes available to correct the mutated parts. The Oregon Health and Science University and Salk Institute also noticed that the gene correction did not lead to any visible mutations in other areas or parts of the genome. This has been a primary matter of concern while editing the genes. The technology has augmented the number of mended embryos from fifty percent to seventy four percent.
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