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Biotech United Kingdom

UK Researcher Applies For Permission To Edit Embryo Genomes 62

sciencehabit writes with the news that developmental biologist Kathy Niakan, of the Francis Crick Institute in London, has applied for permission from the UK's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority to edit the genes of human embryos. Niakan, says the article, "investigates the genes that are active at the earliest stages of human development, before it implants in the womb. Work with embryonic stem cells from mice and humans has suggested that some of the key genes active in this preimplantation period are different in humans and in mice. Niakan hopes to use genome editing to tweak some of the key genes thought to be involved and study the effects they have on human development." If approved, Niakan's work would only involve embryos in a lab, not implanted for gestation.
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UK Researcher Applies For Permission To Edit Embryo Genomes

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    > Niakan's work would only involve embryos in a lab, not implanted for gestation

    Why would I care?

    • Well, because the latter may result in the world's first genetically modified human baby. If you don't understand why that's a big deal, go take a look at all the fuss they make about GM food and then imagine it amplified by an order of magnitude.
      • I don't like GM food, but I don't mind GM babies.

        I don't have to eat the latter...

        • I don't have to eat the latter...

          I insist on labeling of any GMO babies found on supermarket shelves!

          I am so incredibly for genetic modification of humans it's not even funny. I'm not even against GM food, I just want labeling, and multi-generational trials in sealed conditions before things are allowed out.

      • by Jack9 ( 11421 )

        a report by scientists from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, who have edited a gene in fertilized human eggs, called zygotes. The team used new gene editing technology known as the CRISPR/Cas9 system. That technology can precisely snip out a disease-causing mutation and replace it with healthy DNA. CRISPR/Cas9 has edited DNA in stem cells and cancer cells in humans.

        This is a just one REPORTED case. I don't think you are keeping up.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @05:11AM (#50554871) Homepage Journal

    If I'd meant you to tinker I'd have released you under the BSD license.

    • If you don't want me to hack your code, you can always go and sue me.

      Hint: You have to be real to sue in a court. Even in the US.

      • Even if you accepted God as real, and the genome as copyrighted, even under the Mouse's copyright regime that copyright is expired, as would be any patents. He hasn't even been renewing his trademarks on Man(tm). If God did exist, and ever had a copyright, our genes would now be in the public domain.

        • Too bad. I'd really have loved to see that lawsuit go along.

        • Not true.

          The fixed-duration copyright term is for works-for-hire - that means works created by a corporation, including the famous mouse. But a work of an individual author is protected for a different term - the life of the author, plus another seventy years, under US law and in most other countries. Until God dies, the copyright holds. At which point Jesus inherits as next-of-kin and holds it for another seventy years.

          • But what happens when Jesus dies? Bear in mind that he's done it before, though only temporarily. What then? Wait a year and a day, just in case he comes round?

            It's utterly ridiculous that the law isn't 100% straight on these things, and this, along with rock and roll, is why the Chinese are eating our lunch.

          • Until God dies, the copyright holds.

            I'm inclined to agree with Nietzche and Trent Reznor here. And Jesus already died...

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @05:12AM (#50554873)

    Human embryos are not magic. You can learn a lot from fiddling with them that can then be applied to improve the lives of people.

  • Why is it that people think having a set of ethical guidelines that establishes an understanding that humans have a value, simply because they are human, met with the opposition that a person holding such a set of guidelines is 'anti-science'?

    By the logic presented, most 'Pro-science' must believe that we should be able to pick up the homeless and experiment on them, like Mengle, without complaint.

    Just because a human is very young, does not mean they should be considered disposable.

    • As soon as we're talking about humans, you have a case.

      For your information, quite a number of fertilized eggs don't make it into the placenta. They just get flushed out.

      By your definition, most women are serial killers.

      • Did you get this idiotic idea all on your own, or did someone pour stupidity into your ears?

        You guys have the most convoluted reasoning to support the killing of individual organisms that are indisputably of the species homo sapiens.

        And for the record, I am not opposed to abortion. I'm opposed to the death cult that the pro-abortion camp has become.

      • Eggs do not make it into the placenta at all.

        A part of them *becomes* the placenta.

        The placenta is genetically part of the offspring. It's a sort of demarcation point - it lets the mother and fetus exchange material without incurring the wrath or the immune system.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison