CRISPR’s potential in gene therapy shadowed by concerns over ethical use

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Tracy Antonelli and her three daughters suffer from thalassemia, a blood disorder that saps their strength, leaves them anemic, and requires them to visit Boston Children’s Hospital every three weeks for transfusions. “We’re lucky we have a treatment regimen that’s available to us, but it’s cumbersome,” Antonelli says.

A technology in development at several drug companies offers some hope for a more effective and convenient treatment for the Antonellis, and patients with other serious genetic conditions, such as sickle cell anemia. The technique is called Crispr, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. Crispr, a method for editing the human genome—the complete set of an individual’s genetic material present in any of her cells—allows scientists to cut out faulty sections of DNA that can lead to serious illnesses and replace them with healthy ones.

The expectations raised by Crispr have roused ethical questions about the technique and its potential uses. In March, MIT Technology Review reported that OvaScience, a biotechnology company that develops fertility treatments, plans to use Crispr to correct gene disorders in human eggs. In April, researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, said they had used Crispr to try to repair a flawed gene in human embryos that’s responsible for a form of thalassemia. The researchers attempted the procedure in more than 80 embryos that were never viable. A handful successfully adopted the replacement gene; unexpected mutations occurred in others.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Promise and Perile of Crispr

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
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 ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend