Bioethics News

In a First, Scientists Rid Human Embryos of a Potentially Fatal Gene Mutation by Editing their DNA

August 3, 2017

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Using a powerful gene-editing technique, scientists have rid human embryos of a mutation responsible for an inherited form of heart disease that’s often deadly to healthy young athletes and adults in their prime.

The experiment marks the first time that scientists have altered the human genome to erase a disease-causing mutation not only from the DNA of the primary subject but from the genes of his or her progeny as well.

The controversial procedure, known as “germ-line editing,” was conducted at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland using human embryos expressly created for the purpose. It was reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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Image: Oregon Health & Science University via LA Times

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