Doubts have surfaced about a landmark paper claiming that human embryos were cleared of a deadly mutation using genome editing. In an article posted to the bioRxiv preprint server on 28 August, a team of prominent stem-cell scientists and geneticists question whether the mutation was actually fixed.
In their bioRxiv paper, [Dieter Egli, a stem-cell scientist at Columbia University in New York City, and Maria Jasin, a developmental biologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center] and their co-authors say that there is no plausible biological mechanism to explain how a genetic mutation in sperm could be corrected based on the egg’s version of the gene. More likely, they say, [reproductive biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s] team failed to actually fix the mutation and were misled into thinking they had by using an inadequate genetics assay.
“It simply says that we need to know more, not that the work is unimportant,” [developmental biologist Robin] Lovell-Badge says of Egli and Jasin’s paper.
In [a] statement, Mitalipov’s said his team stands by their results. “We will respond to their critiques point by point in the form of a formal peer-reviewed response in a matter of weeks.”
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