CRISPR used to edit genes of human embryos for first time in U.S. | Science News

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Gene editing of human embryos gets rid of a mutation that causes heart failure

Success in correcting DNA defect inches use of CRISPR closer to clinical trial

1:00pm, August 2, 2017
fertilized human eggs and embryos

IN GOOD REPAIR  CRISPR/Cas9 has corrected a gene defect in fertilized human eggs (left) without hampering embryo development. Four-cell embryos (middle) and blastocyst-stage embryos — about five days old — (right) carrying the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editor appear normal.

For the first time in the United States, researchers have used gene editing to repair a mutation in human embryos.

Molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 corrected a gene defect that can lead to heart failure. The gene editor fixed the mutation in about 72 percent of tested embryos, researchers report August 2 in Nature. That repair rate is much higher than expected. Work with skin cells reprogrammed to mimic embryos had suggested the mutation would be repaired in fewer than 30 percent of cells.

In addition, the researchers discovered a technical advance that may limit the production of patchwork embryos that aren’t fully edited. That’s important if CRISPR/Cas9 will ever be used to prevent genetic diseases, says study coauthor Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a reproductive and developmental biologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. If even one cell in an early embryo is

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