A team of doctors and scientists has amended human embryos using new or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR CAS9) which enables editing of genes helped remove a deadly mutation that causes heart attacks. Using the new technology, defected genes could also be stopped from passing to next generations.
CRISPR works as a type of molecular scissors that can selectively trim away unwanted parts of the genome, and replace it with new stretches of DNA. This is also seen as a first step towards having ‘designer babies’ if not a full-fledged start. Other Countries such as China had also attempted this but could not succeed.
The successful attempt has also increased possibilities of germ line repairs and enhancements and it could soon become a trend.
This development has now opened up exciting prospects of the world having designer babies, a task which looked a faraway thing so far.
British journal Nature published a research showing the first genetically modified human embryos made in America.
“Although the rare heart mutation affects men and women of all ages, it is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young people, and it could be eliminated in one generation in a particular family,” said Indian origin co-author Kaul, a professor of medicine (cardiovascular medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine and director of the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute.
Sanjeev Kaul was born in Kashmir and studied in New Delhi before immigrating to the US.
Another team member, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in California-based Salk Institutes Gene Expression Laboratory and a corresponding author of the paper said, “Thanks to advances in stem cell technologies and gene editing, we are finally starting to address disease-causing mutations that impact potentially millions of people.”
“If proven safe, this technique could potentially decrease the number of cycles needed for people trying to have children free of genetic disease,” said co-author Paula Amato, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology in the OHSU School of Medicine.