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Is Human Embryo Editing Possible? Things to Know

By Dr Okoye

A controversial research by Swedish scientists attempts to alter a healthy human embryo’s genetic material all together. In the research experiments, biologists belonging to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, led by biologist Fredrik Lanner, injected a gene editing tool into the human embryo, just a few days after fertilization. This gene editing tool was injected with an intention to make some precise changes to the DNA of the embryo.

The sole purpose of these experiments, according to the researchers, is to help them learn about the early development changes that take place in the embryos. These findings could later help invent new methods for infertility treatments as well as preventing miscarriages.

This is not the first time that such an experiment was conducted. In the year 2015, a study was conducted by Chinese scientists, in which an attempt to alter the genes in human embryos was made. The studies were conducted to know more on the impact of gene editing on the blood disorder beta-thalassemia and HIV infection.

According to Lanner, the Swedish team will use a technique called as CRISPR-Cas9, which is a gene editing technique. The main focus of these experiments is to understand the role of genes involved in infertility.

Even though human embryo editing is slowly gaining acceptance, there are critics who feel that there would be a misuse of technology and steps should be taken to ensure that gene editing is not used for making genetically modified babies.

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