Britain Allows Scientist to Genetically Modify Embryos of HumansCraig Dalton (Author) Published Date : Feb 02, 2016 23:12 IST
A scientist in Britain now has the go ahead to genetically modify human embryos to be used in research, using a controversial technique that some have said would eventually be used for the creation of designer babies.
Less than one year after scientists in China caused a furor internationally by saying they genetically modified some human embryos, a stem cell researcher from London was given a license to carry out experiments of a similar nature.
The HFEA or Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority approved the research application submitted for Francis Crick Institute were the stem cell scientists will use new techniques of gene editing on human embryos.
It said that the new work would be carried out for purposes of research and will first look at seven days of fertilized egg s development from an individual cell to 250 cells.
The experiments are expected to be carried out using the technology CRISPR-Cas9, which is technology that has already been the subject of huge international debate because of the fears it might be used to make babies to order.
CRISPR allows scientists to find then modify or replace defects in genes and many have called that game changing.
The scientist who was given the approval said she does not intend to genetically alter embryos for use in the reproduction of humans, but wants to deepen the scientific understanding of how health embryos of humans develops, that is something over the long term could help improve treatments of infertility.
Last month in London at a meeting with reporters, the scientist said the first gene that was to be targeted was Oct4, which she said she believes might have an important role in the early stages of fetal development of humans.
Another scientist not involved with the study, said the project would increase the understanding of the way early human embryos grow and develop and will add to the basic knowledge needed for the devising of different strategies to assist couples that are infertile and lower the numbers of miscarriage.
Britain Allows Scientist to Genetically Modify Embryos of Humans