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...

Synthetic Biology. Engineering and biology combined to create a minimal genome

Producing living beings with new characteristics by an artificial synthesis of a minimal genome to then transplant it into a living cell On 24th March this year, an article by Craig Venter and his team was published in Science, in which they described how they obtained an...

Producing human organs in animal chimeras raises objective medical and ethical problems

The major medical and social problems in organ transplantation owing to the increasing shortage of donor organs is well known. Solutions must therefore be sought in the fairly near future that can resolve these issues. One of these is the production of animal chimeras in which...