In DepthHuman Reproduction

Embryo editing takes another step to clinic

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Science  04 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6350, pp. 436-437
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6350.436

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This week, a U.S.-based team published the first rigorous demonstration that the gene-editing method CRISPR can efficiently repair a gene defect in human embryos. Although none of the labmade embryos were transferred into women, the research team, led by embryologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, says the success paves the way for using the technique in the clinic to prevent the transmission of genetic disease. But evidence of the technique's long-term safety is still lacking, and many researchers and ethicists have argued that germline editing—making permanent, heritable changes to the genome that could correct genetic disease, but also theoretically introduce other designer traits—should for now be limited to research exploring basic biology.