An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: A scientist in New York is conducting experiments designed to modify DNA in human embryos as a step toward someday preventing inherited diseases, NPR has learned. For now, the work is confined to a laboratory. But the research, if successful, would mark another step toward turning CRISPR, a powerful form of gene editing, into a tool for medical treatment. Dieter Egli, a developmental biologist at Columbia University, says he is conducting his experiments “for research purposes.” He wants to determine whether CRISPR can safely repair mutations in human embryos to prevent genetic diseases from being passed down for generations. So far, Egli has stopped any modified embryos from developing beyond one day so he can study them. “Right now we are not trying to make babies. None of these cells will go into the womb of a person,” he says. But if the approach is successful, Egli would likely allow edited embryos to develop further to continue his research. Egli’s research is reviewed in advance and overseen by a panel of other scientists and bioethicists at Columbia. Specifically, Egli is trying to fix one of the genetic defects that cause retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited form of blindness. “If it works, the hope is that the approach could help blind people carrying the mutation have genetically related children whose vision is normal,” reports NPR.

Share on Google+

of this story at Slashdot.

…read more

Source:: Slashdot