A technique which allows genetic editing has been successfully tested on human cells meaning that genetic medicine — previously an expensive and complex endeavour — could become simple and affordable.
The process was discovered in 2012 by Jennifer Doudna and Martin Jinek of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley working with Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden. Initially it described genomic editing in bacterial cells but has now been tested on human DNA .
“The ability to modify specific elements of an organism’s genes has been essential to advance our understanding of biology, including human health,” said Doudna. “This is going to remove a major bottleneck in the field, because it means that essentially anybody can use this kind of genome editing or reprogramming to introduce genetic changes into mammalian or, quite likely, other eukaryotic systems.”
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