Genetic engineering of human embryos to treat diseases. An unprejudiced reflection

In the last five years, many laboratories worldwide have employed the genetic engineering technique known as CRISPR/Cas9, in the hope that it might one day be used to treat human diseases. Things seem to have accelerated in the last few days though, after the authorisation in the...

Gene editing today. All we have to know about it and our bioethical assessment

Few scientific breakthroughs have been as important as the discovery of the CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) technique as a gene editing tool. CRISPR/Cas9 is a natural system that provides bacteria with an adaptive response against viruses...

CRISPR used for the first time in humans

A team led by oncologist Lu Youou at Sichuan University in China has become the first to use the revolutionary CRISPR technique on a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital, according to an article published in Nature. The use of...

Human genome. Its “grammar” is more complex than thought

Human genome sequencing revealed the order of the 3 billion letters of A, C, G and T, but not what they mean, much less the grammar that gives them meaning. A study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in the latest edition of international science journal Nature (527;...

Rules for regulating genome editing – particularly gene drive

The dynamic field of research into gene editing provides an opportunity to rewrite the rules of science, says Kevin Esvelt. The emergence of gene-drive systems — which spread engineered mutations quickly through populations — means that a single released organism could eventually...

CRISPR veterinary (genome editing) to attempt to halt a serious porcine disease

CRISPR veterinary applied to prevent the spread of a serious swine disease.  One of the worst nightmares for any pig farmer is to have a herd infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). Having emerged in the 1980s, the syndrome now affects these...

Xenobiology and environment

Synthetic biology and xenobiology could be great tools for improving the environment, but there must be a balance in which the pursuit of benefits for humans is combined with respect for nature and its laws. On 15th May 2015, Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato si, in...

Genome editing. First clinical trial using the CRISPR technique authorised in humans

If there is one technique on which biomedicine has pinned its hopes, it is CRISPR, a genome editing technology that simplifies and facilitates the changes to be made in the genome (read our ethical opinion HERE) . This sort of genetic “cut and paste” has just received...

Mother to child transmission. A novel prevention technique of hereditary mitochondrial disease

‘The technique remains nevertheless an intervention on the germ line’ This possible new technique to prevent mitochondrial disease transmission , while it has major advantages, remains nevertheless an intervention on the germ line, and therefore should be carefully...

Human gene editing controversy. Summit concludes with divergent opinions

Despite differences, nearly everyone at the meeting agreed that efforts to use gene editing after birth to correct defects in non-reproductive cells should continue. When nearly 500 scientists, ethicists, legal experts and advocacy groups from more than 20 countries came together...