Why use gene editing on human embryos when other options are available?

| | August 10, 2017

Researchers in the U.S. and South Korea have shown that gene editing can correct a genetic disorder in an embryo. Using CRISPR-Cas9, they repaired mutated MYBPC3 genes, which can cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). People with HCM are at greater risk for sudden cardiac death, heart failure and other cardiovascular issues.

“I was a little disappointed at the condition they tried to edit out because it’s not a super serious one,” said Insoo Hyun, an associate professor in the Department of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University in a phone interview. “This one raises your risk, but there are ways to clinically manage it.”

Hyun questions the practical advantages of using CRISPR to repair these embryos, when an existing technology – preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) – could more easily help couples select healthy embryos.

“If you’re looking at diseases and can use PGD to see your results, why wouldn’t the couple just use PGD? If this were a disease that every embryo was going to be affected, or one so horrible that even the slight risk PGD could be wrong and you could implant affected embryos is too high, that would be a different case. None of that is true of this condition,” [said Hyun].

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Following gene editing milestone, bioethics professor ventures into CRISPR minefield


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