‘Search and replace’ CRISPR DNA tool gaining traction despite calls for moratorium

scissors cutting letters CRISPR Shutterstock e

Momentum has been rapidly mounting around a technology called CRISP​R-Cas9, often described as a “search and replace” tool for DNA. The reason? It’s possible that scientists are now looking into using the revolutionary technique to permanently edit the genome of human eggs, sperm and embryos, a process called germline engineering.

This is the new frontier of genetic engineering, in which modifications made to reproductive cells—the germline—would be passed down to subsequent generations. Scientists aren’t sure what the effects of that might be yet.

“Every time you make a sperm or an egg cell, you’re scrambling the genomes you inherited from your mom and dad, so who the hell knows what could happen,” said David Al​bertini, who researches fertility treatments and regenerative medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. “You might have effects that show up not in the first generation, but in the second, third, or fourth one.”

Scientists are advising caution as the technology advances. However, human germline engineering may be moving faster than expected. Last month, repo​rts surfaced claiming that scientists from China, the United Kingdom and at least a couple biotech companies in Boston are working on editing human germlines.

Read full original article: This New Gene-Editing Technique Is About to Be Very Controversial

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend