‘Wild West of CRISPR’? Ukraine clinic promises to gene edit graying hair, skin quality and breast size

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Ukraine clinic Medeus hopes to alter physical characteristics with gene editing. Credit: Medeus
Ukraine clinic Medeus hopes to alter physical characteristics with gene editing. Credit: Medeus

If I had to pick one country that might be the epitome of the ‘Wild West’ of reproductive and genetic technologies including gene-editing it might be Ukraine. For example, there is “3-person IVF” or human mitochondrial transfer of some kind being sold there, but that technology has not yet been proven safe nor effective.

Now it seems a clinic in Ukraine is gearing up to do something more extreme: sell purported CRISPR trait enhancements to customers.

A reader of The Niche alerted me to an email that has been sent out to genetics researchers by the Ukrainian clinic [Medeus Medical Center] trying to recruit scientists for this project. 

Hello! Our Medical Center based on the Institute of Quantum Medicine is opening its own laboratory for genetic editing of stem cells. Our long-term goals include working with humans using edited stem cells. We plan to edit gray hair color, skin quality and breast size. 

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One of the primary [risks] seems to me to be the injection of people with CRISPR’d stem cells that end up altered by accident to have cancer-like properties. Even if they could do this safely and effectively, is it ethical to sell human genetic enhancements? 

[Editor’s note: The video below is an advertisement from the Ukrainian clinic Medeus Medical Center]

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