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Families plagued by inherited diseases push back against ban on gene-edited embryos

| | April 26, 2019

In 2012, scientists showed that CRISPR, an ancient bacterial immune system, can edit DNA.

Barely three years after, leaders in the field convened a private meeting in California’s Napa Valley to discuss their concerns about the possible use of CRISPR in IVF embryos, concluding that it should not be done, at least not yet.

Watching all this have been people with a special interest in embryo editing: those who carry genetic mutations that can cause severe disease. They wonder whether experts who denounce embryo editing have any understanding of what millions of people with such inherited diseases — especially ones that have plagued their families for generations — suffer.

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The “altering the human gene pool” concern also puzzles families — as well as some experts. CRISPR doesn’t introduce, say, fish genes into tomatoes, as old-line recombinant DNA does. It changes a disease-causing version of a gene into a healthy, far more common form. “It’s hard to see how giving someone the form of a gene that 6 billion other people have is changing the human gene pool,” [bioethicist Jeantine] Lunshof said.

Read full, original post: As calls mount to ban embryo editing with CRISPR, families hit by inherited diseases say, not so fast

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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