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First Human Embryos Edited in U.S.

ponpo

( ≖‿≖)
MIT Technology Review

The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon, Technology Review has learned.

The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice. To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.

Now Mitalipov is believed to have broken new ground both in the number of embryos experimented upon and by demonstrating that it is possible to safely and efficiently correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases.

Although none of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days—and there was never any intention of implanting them into a womb—the experiments are a milestone on what may prove to be an inevitable journey toward the birth of the first genetically modified humans.

In altering the DNA code of human embryos, the objective of scientists is to show that they can eradicate or correct genes that cause inherited disease, like the blood condition beta-thalassemia. The process is termed ”germline engineering" because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells—the egg and sperm.

The earlier Chinese publications, although limited in scope, found CRISPR caused editing errors and that the desired DNA changes were taken up not by all the cells of an embryo, only some. That effect, called mosaicism, lent weight to arguments that germline editing would be an unsafe way to create a person.

But Mitalipov and his colleagues are said to have convincingly shown that it is possible to avoid both mosaicism and ”off-target" effects, as the CRISPR errors are known.

...

”It is proof of principle that it can work. They significantly reduced mosaicism. I don't think it's the start of clinical trials yet, but it does take it further than anyone has before," said a scientist familiar with the project.

The report also offered qualified support for the use of CRISPR for making gene-edited babies, but only if it were deployed for the elimination of serious diseases.

The advisory committee drew a red line at genetic enhancements—like higher intelligence. ”Genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people," said Alta Charo, co-chair of the NAS's study committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

 

Rentahamster

Rodent Whores
Now Mitalipov is believed to have broken new ground both in the number of embryos experimented upon and by demonstrating that it is possible to safely and efficiently correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases.

Cool. Faster please.
 

Nipo

Member
Great if we can make it so less babies have birth defects or will die of cancer we should totally do it. Let's get single payer Healthcare too so more than just rich babies have them option.
 

Ashodin

Member
We're part of the last generation of humans that will suffer based on our DNA mutations and the like. Neat.
 
And now every mother, can choose the color
Of her child
That's not nature's way
Well that's what they said yesterday
There's nothing left to do but pray
I think it's time I found a new religion
Whoa, it's so insane
To synthesize another strain
There's something in these
Futures that we have to be told
 
And to think how far we can transcend our limits if it were available to everyone. But it won't be. It won't ever be. It starts here. All it takes is a profiteering board of directors and designer babies with potential so much higher than everyone else, that everyone who can afford it will go for it.

And then we're GATTACA.
 
And now every mother, can choose the color
Of her child
That's not nature's way
Well that's what they said yesterday
There's nothing left to do but pray
I think it's time I found a new religion
Whoa, it's so insane
To synthesize another strain
There's something in these
Futures that we have to be told
Fuck off. I want my bois to look like Leonardo DiCaprio and my girls to look like Rihanna, and you will not stop me.
 
Time to combine the cells of a rose with that of Godzilla's! We will make an indestructible super plant that can grow anyway and survive anything!
 

Ashodin

Member
And now every mother, can choose the color
Of her child
That's not nature's way
Well that's what they said yesterday
There's nothing left to do but pray
I think it's time I found a new religion
Whoa, it's so insane
To synthesize another strain
There's something in these
Futures that we have to be told

Futures made of
Virtual Insanity now
Always seem to
Be governed this love we have for
useless twisting
our new technology now
oh now there is no sound
for we all live underground
 

Izuna

Banned
Obviously super rich will use it for their own gain low-key amirite

I mean, human husbandry in a sense has already been happening
 

Owari

Member
Anyone who wouldn't do this has never seen Gattaca. Do you really want your kid to have to hang around Jude Law if he wants to be a spaceman?
 
Not too late. In 20 years or so (or less!) we'll have solved telomeres making us age.

I'm not blowing smoke either, go look it up. Lots of research on it atm.

I don't believe this whatsoever. I know the claim and that there's been a lot of research on it but we are still sooooo far away from discovering how to stop the aging process.

As to the OP this is awesome and could save many many lives from inherited diseases. Pretty incredible
 

oxrock

Gravity is a myth, the Earth SUCKS!
And to think how far we can transcend our limits if it were available to everyone. But it won't be. It won't ever be. It starts here. All it takes is a profiteering board of directors and designer babies with potential so much higher than everyone else, that everyone who can afford it will go for it.

And then we're GATTACA.

Well according to the article, modified genes would then be passed on to any offspring. So as long as no detrimental mutations occur, you would only need for the parents to have been enhanced to naturally bear enhanced children. Eventually the benefits would benefit those who couldn't afford the treatment simply through interbreeding. It'd obviously be more fair for it to be available for everyone but in the US money talks. It's kind of cool to think about utilizing this technology when starting a new off world colony or something though. Just a dozen or so enhanced parents could end up spawning a new civilization of super humans.
 

Ashodin

Member
Yeah, but the stuff in the OP could eliminate birth defects / etc., that it's too late to do anything about now.

CRISPR not only can be used to edit embryos, but practical applications in the future will be able to live-edit people as well (there's also research into this as well).

Basically, we might be able to retroactively change your genes to remove the chance of getting a disease.

It sounds like science fiction, but so did devices you can read the news on that fit into your pocket 20 years ago.

I don't believe this whatsoever. I know the claim and that there's been a lot of research on it but we are still sooooo far away from discovering how to stop the aging process.

That's what I thought until I did a lot of digging and seeing how far along we've come. It's so easy to imagine we're far off but we're really not.
 

Kettch

Member
Higher intelligence would be a good thing if we lived in a cooperative society rather than a competitive one. Hopefully we can move on soon.
 

kess

Member
Well according to the article, modified genes would then be passed on to any offspring. So as long as no detrimental mutations occur, you would only need for the parents to have been enhanced to naturally bear enhanced children. Eventually the benefits would benefit those who couldn't afford the treatment simply through interbreeding. It'd obviously be more fair for it to be available for everyone but in the US money talks.

Let's take that to its obvious conclusion, and we'll see if there's social stigma towards mating with someone who is, in effect, inferior. Who knows, maybe it will become no different than administering vaccines, and this benefits everyone instead of a select class.

Intelligence is another issue entirely. If man believes he is greater, and is intrinsicly worth more than any other primate, so too must an improved man.
 
Well according to the article, modified genes would then be passed on to any offspring. So as long as no detrimental mutations occur, you would only need for the parents to have been enhanced to naturally bear enhanced children. Eventually the benefits would benefit those who couldn't afford the treatment simply through interbreeding. It'd obviously be more fair for it to be available for everyone but in the US money talks. It's kind of cool to think about utilizing this technology when starting a new off world colony or something though. Just a dozen or so enhanced parents could end up spawning a new civilization of super humans.
People already sort themselves and choose their sexual partners by desirable traits and class, so that desirable traits are accrued among the rich. It means that poorer people can join the ranks of the rich if they have talent or looks, but it means that these people's children are more likely to be born rich.

Allowing the rich to short circuit this process will lead to an accelerating effect where there are literally in-built genetic advantages from being born rich, not just systemic ones. It makes it far less likely for a talented individual to rise up and will create class divides which are genetic, not just financial.

As long as it's coupled to wealth and class, I am against germ line engineering.
 

Ashodin

Member
Let's take that to its obvious conclusion, and we'll see if there's social stigma towards mating with someone who is, in effect, inferior. Who knows, maybe it will become no different than administering vaccines, and this benefits everyone instead of a select class.

Intelligence is another issue entirely. If man believes he is greater, and is intrinsicly worth more than any other primate, so too must an improved man.

Why would this be a problem? You can just edit out the genes of the baby if you were to have one with someone with defects. The tech would be commonplace by then.
 
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