News of World Medicine

The first experiments on the genetic change of human embryos have been carried out in the United States

The technology of CRISPR genome editing helped scientist from Portland to perform the experiments. According to "Remedium”, previously, similar studies were conducted only in China. The embryos used by Americans were developed a couple of weeks and the correction was successful. The experts were interested in the correction of genes responsible for the development of hereditary diseases, including beta-thalassemia.

For example, last year Chinese scientists changed DNA of 213 fertilized human ova. A mutation, added to the genome of the embryos, affected the work of CCR5 gene. The mutation of this gene gives people resistance to HIV infection. 4 of 26 embryos were changed successfully. In spite of successful modification, the original version of CCR5 was preserved or unplanned mutations were present in some alleles.

By the way, the US is legally ready for changes in the human genome. National academies of science and medicine suggest that in the future the presumption on the creation of genetically modified people can be overturned. However, there are some reservations: it is not about improving a person and modifying his abilities, but correcting mutations causing hereditary ailments.

Today there is a ban on the creation of human embryos with the DNA modified. In case of withdrawn ban, the experts proposed several recommendations, which should be followed by scientific and medical centers. First, it is about genome correction as a first-line therapy - when other methods no longer work.

Second: the correction should affect only those genes associated with a hereditary disease uniquely. In addition, a strict control of clinical trials and available sufficient data regarding the benefits and possible risks of interference with DNA are required. As for the ethical issue, it is recommended that the public to be involved in its discussion. Meanwhile some groups of scientists are performing experiments relating to the change of human DNA but they can only interfere in the genome of somatic (non-sexual) cells.


Source: MEDdaily