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Science

In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos (npr.org) 155

Scientists for the first time have successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a common and serious disease-causing mutation, producing apparently healthy embryos, according to a study published on Wednesday. From a report: Now, an international team of scientists reports they have, for the first time, figured out a way to successfully edit the DNA in human embryos -- without introducing the harmful mutations that were a problem in previous attempts elsewhere. "It's a pretty exciting piece of science," says George Daley, dean of the Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the research. "It's a technical tour-de-force. It's really remarkable." The research is ultimately aimed at helping families plagued by genetic diseases. The new experiment used a powerful new gene-editing technique to correct a genetic defect behind a heart disorder that can cause seemingly healthy young people to suddenly die from heart failure. The experiment corrected the defect in nearly two-thirds of several dozen embryos, without causing potentially dangerous mutations elsewhere in the DNA. None of the embryos were used to try to create a baby. But if future experiments confirm the techniques are safe and effective, the scientists say the same approach could be used to prevent a long list of inheritable diseases.
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In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos

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  • So sick of all the alarmist bullshit. Gene editing is GOING to happen. It's another medical technology. Get over it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      True, but it's let's do it right -- reasonable precautions and meticulous peer and external review.

      • Hmm....I"m guessing this gene edit helps the embryo in question, but likely does not keep this "person" to be from passing it on?

        Is the edit suppression expression of the gene, or swapping out the whole gene entirely?

        Big difference in results there for generations to come...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Hmm....I"m guessing this gene edit helps the embryo in question, but likely does not keep this "person" to be from passing it on?

          Is the edit suppression expression of the gene, or swapping out the whole gene entirely?

          Big difference in results there for generations to come...

          I guess you should read more in biology (or take a few classes). I'm not surprised that most tech people (from physic area) don't understand much about biology... DNA is being copied when reproduce. What would happen with DNA which has been modified before the copying process occur? Of course, the modified version will be copied as well. I hope this help you understanding whether the modified DNA would be passed on.

          • I guess you should read more in biology (or take a few classes). I'm not surprised that most tech people (from physic area) don't understand much about biology... DNA is being copied when reproduce. What would happen with DNA which has been modified before the copying process occur? Of course, the modified version will be copied as well. I hope this help you understanding whether the modified DNA would be passed on.

            Hmm...I didn't read the article (hey, it is slashdot), so I didn't see at what stage they w

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          It's possible to do modification on only certain cells in the embryo. But it's a lot of work, and requires that you wait until the embryo has developed enough to have cells that are differentiated enough to be destined to be only what you want.

          These were pre-implantation embryos. Basically, balls of undifferentiated cells. So their modification would almost certainly be present in all cells (including germ cells) if the embryo were allowed to develop.

    • Except you forgot the part:

      Just because we _can_ doesn't mean we _should._

      There are HUGE implications.

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't hire you. Your DNA shows that you a heart defect that predicts you will die by 30.

      For every problem technology "solves", it creates 10 new ones.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yeah? If you really believe that, why are you typing on Slashdot? Why aren't you squatting in a cave somewhere in a pile of your own crap?

        • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:48PM (#54927687) Homepage

          For every problem technology "solves", it creates 10 new ones.

          If this statement was supposed to mean "technology makes things 10 times worse," then you're right to call BS. However, it's true that while new technology solves problems, it also creates new ones.

          For example, the smart phone has changes the way we live, solving many problems. It's easy to get ahold of people. It's easier to do business on the go. With GPS and maps, it's almost impossible to get lost unless you can't get a signal. We have immediate access to all kinds of media, almost anywhere in the world.

          However, there are also loads of associated problems. Everything from the need to keep your battery charged to the adverse effects of social change from ever-present social networking apps, they're "problems". It doesn't mean the new problems outweigh the old ones that technology solves, but at the same time, you'd have to be blind to think that new technology is simply an absolute good thing.

          And once you recognize that there can be drawbacks to technological advancement, you have to acknowledge the possibility of a technology where the problems it creates outweigh the benefits. A lot of people might argue, for example, that the world would be a better place if we hadn't invented nuclear weapons.

          Still, even if we concede that we'd be better if some technology weren't invented, we aren't able to un-invent it. We have to figure out if there's a way to regulate it to prevent the negative uses and unintended consequences don't get out of control.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by avandesande ( 143899 )

            However, it's true that while new technology solves problems, it also creates new ones.

            So what? We will deal with the problems when the happen like we always do.

            • It makes sense to have a little forethought and anticipate which kinds of problems you might run into, and how you might deal with them should they arise.
              • It makes sense to have a little forethought and anticipate which kinds of problems you might run into

                What problems do you anticipate from preventing young adults from dying? The worst that could reasonably happen is that we make a mistake and kill someone that was going to die anyway. So what's the big deal?

                There is a big difference between reasonable caution and knee jerk Ludditism.

                • The worst that could reasonably happen is that we make a mistake and kill someone that was going to die anyway. So what's the big deal?

                  Well first, I'd like to point out that we're all going to "die anyway". If you're taking the position that it doesn't matter what you do to a person if they end up dead anyway, then it's equivalent to claiming that it doesn't matter what you do to people. So I think we should accept that it does matter what happens to people if they are "going to die anyway." You might help them live longer, or you might kill them more quickly. You might improve their quality of life, or you might degrade it. If you ta

                • It makes sense to have a little forethought and anticipate which kinds of problems you might run into

                  What problems do you anticipate from preventing young adults from dying? The worst that could reasonably happen is...

                  ... overpopulation leading to contention over food resources resulting in all out nuclear war wiping all life permanently from the face of the earth.

                  This is why people get in trouble, because they lack imagination for the big problems

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              So what? We will deal with the problems when the happen like we always do.

              Raising the issues is the first step of dealing with them.
              Why would you argue to shut down that discussion?

              • Because nobody here knows what they are talking about anyone and they are spouting a bunch of BS. They should stick to complaining about systemd.....
            • However, it's true that while new technology solves problems, it also creates new ones.

              So what? We will deal with the problems when the happen like we always do.

              Right, because we, as a society, are doing such a great job of dealing with technological issues now...

              How's net neutrality/ISPs farming our data for profit/ Gov'ts illegally spying on us going these days, anyway?

              • First those aren't technological problems - they are social and political problems.

                Second - there are technologies around that easily circumvent all of those things and there always will be.
                Government moves at a snails pace when compared to technological changes.
                • First those aren't technological problems - they are social and political problems.

                  Still problems.

                  Second - there are technologies around that easily circumvent all of those things and there always will be.

                  And those are? Because considering those are the current fights we, socially, are engaged in, I argue that if circumvention were as easy as you claim, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

                  Also, Black Hat/DefCon wouldn't exist.

                  Government moves at a snails pace when compared to technological changes.

                  Much technological innovation is applied militarily before it's applied civilly, so I call straight up BS on that statement. Nuclear power was used to kill before it was used to harness energy for use on the electrical grid.

            • I kind of like to think about being proactive and not reactive whenever possible. That proactive does tend to get more desirable results. Whereas, reactive is like saying "Oh shit, we better take care of that someday".
        • There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking a moment or two to reflect on the unintended consequences of something before rushing headlong into it.

          If you can't see at least a few ethical issues that might come to play when we start directly editing genes, then.. i'm thankful that you're not involved in genetics (or ethics for that matter.)

        • Your crap cave doesn't have cell service?
      • by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @02:26PM (#54928015) Journal

        I understand the sentiment but when you apply your statement to the current context: "Just because we can eliminate genetic diseases don't mean we should." That is a horrible thing to say. If we can eliminate genetic disease we should. Those people that are plagued by those diseases will be better off. The human condition will be that much better and tolerable as it is the entire purpose of technology.

        There are always going to be huge implications and no one will know how to deal with them until they show up. The best example I can think of are nuclear weapons. They changed the face of the planet in every conceivable manner. They were designed to kill indiscriminately as many humans as possible with little effort. Yet, the implication was that MADD created a relative lasting peace the world has never known before with humans. We are still trying to understand all the implications of nuclear weapons. Our struggle and problems are different. We have to perpetually maintain the peace MADD demands for every future generation that lives with nuclear weapons instead of living in wars that won't threaten our extinction.

        We have the luxury to question 'should a technology be developed' because others recognized that it should even when they didn't understand all the huge implications. Our lives are better because of it.

        • We'll inevitably have to draw an arbitrary line somewhere regarding what should and shouldn't be done with this technology. I think outright stopping this sort of technology would be futile as there is simply going to be too much demand for it.

          Autism spectrum genes are the first thing that comes to mind as something that could definitely be contentious. To some people any noticeable deviation from the norm might warrant genetic correction. While others might take issue with even the assertion that there is

        • It's horrible nuke weapons exist. Period.
          • When you understand chemistry and nuclear physics you have nuclear weapons. It's intrinsic to any science or technology that unlocks higher energy concentrations. More people died from gun powder and steel. Do you have similar sentiments to those technologies or are you irrationally afraid of that technology because "nuclear"?

            Reality is a horrible place to live. If your not willing to claw, fight, and struggle to survive then mother nature will bitch slap you into the grave.

        • by Whibla ( 210729 )

          ... That is a horrible thing to say. If we can eliminate genetic disease we should. Those people that are plagued by those diseases will be better off.

          Whilst I tend to agree with you there are 'diseases' for which opinion is divided, such as some forms of congenital deafness [wikipedia.org]. There are some parents who vociferously argue against curing their progeny, saying that it takes away as much as it gives. I'm not deaf, so I can't comment from a personal perspective, but, given that one's first language influences neuronal development (or at least development of thought processes), having a child whose primary means of communication is sign language would seems to

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        That scenario is about detecting defects. I hate to tell you, but that ship sailed about a decade ago.

        This article is about *fixing* those defects.

      • UnknownSoldier you have a valid point. Very few solutions ended up to be simple, straight forward, and without consequences. While this process holds great promise, it pays to proceed with caution.
    • This is actually more than Gattaca; Gattaca was just about pre-screening and selecting "the best of both of you" from a huge number of traditionally test-tube fertilized options. There was no gene editing in Gattaca, just sequencing and selection. This new thing is full on genetic engineering, admittedly in it's own infancy.
    • So sick of all the alarmist bullshit. Gene editing is GOING to happen. It's another medical technology. Get over it.

      Alarmist bullshit just means that China takes this technology and runs with it, not us.

    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )

      So, what if the parents want to edit their child's genes to make them economically successful, but it's also going to result in the kid being a sociopath? Who gets to say if its good or bad? I'll tell you, the parents paying the money and if this doctor says no, some other will say yes, and eventually, we'll end up with a society of 75% Donald Trumps.

  • by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:08PM (#54927323)

    Just gonna leave this here -

    http://www.baen.com/Chapters/ERBAEN0036/ERBAEN0036___1.htm

    • I was reminded of a slightly different cultural reference: GATTACA! GATTACA! [youtube.com]

      Seriously though, this is precisely the type of genetic augmentation that was at the heart of that excellent movie. One has to wonder how long it will be before this sort of thing is commonplace.

    • Thanks for the link.
    • Ugh. Could you not have summarised the 10,000+ word story just a bit?

      Even just a hint. Gene editing good? Gene editing bad?

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        In the story gene editing was causing spontaneous death later in life due to flaw in the edit that was used for nearly an entire generation.

        Gene editing was being used to make people pretty smart and fit.

        So i'd think the moral was supposed to be gene editing bad.

        Great so you don't even know what it does and you're using it on millions of children.

        There was a non GMO complaining that they weren't as good as the GMOs then the GMOs started dying because the scientists royally screwed up..then the non GMO didn'

        • Or you can have most of the really bad combinations removed so you have a almost guaranteed chance of having a normal healthy child.

          If you live in a first world country, and have money.

          While I don't disagree that this is potentially awesome for humanity, the problem is that we don't have a social structure that won't severely disadvantage a large subset of the population. When the well-educated and well-off don't need to suffer the financial penalties of chronic disease and disability, they will further the gap between themselves and those poor people who do.

          There will always people too poor or too "principled" to gene

          • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

            Seems to be a good argument in favor of universal health care.
            UHC like regular insurance tends to not like new things so it wouldn't be available at first but if it was found to be beneficial (improving long term health and thus lowering needed health care spending) they would eventually cover it too.

            Without it it will happen exactly like you said.

            Yes some people won't do it.
            I wonder if those people will be thought of the same as the anti vaxxers are today.

            It's interesting to think about but it's all still

            • Well, not as malicious as the anti-vaxers, that's for sure. Not getting your embryo's down-syndrome fixed hurts you and your kid. Not getting vaccinated for measles can kill people who even got vaccinated.

              But I agree with universal health care. That would likely take the most expensive and debilitating hereditary diseases and cure them first, then work on the more common random ones and the less debilitating but still awful ones. Would be nice to gradually move towards a population without cripplin

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I'm sure we will get where we can play around with genetics like that in the future but that's not what's being discussed today.
      What's being discussed today is the minimum we want out of this research making sure children will be healthy by avoiding known bad combinations.

      Once they finally get it going where they can actually make designer children (designer example: I want it to be 14ft tall, male, bright purple eyes, fast runner with bright green hair.) we're going to see a lot of crazy shit but still it

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would it be racialist to eliminate sickle cell?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Since sickle cell has been shown to be a positive species survival characteristic in malaria infested regions, hence the reason the adaptation has survived, it would be a wise thing only once the malaria is controlled.
      • It's only a positive trait when heterozygous (One sickle-cell gene, one normal gene). It's deadly when homozygous (two sickle-cell genes).

        With 50% of children getting a bad combination (25% two sickle-cell, 25% zero sickle-cell and thus no malaria protection), we should probably be relying on other mechanisms to control the disease.

    • Sickle-cell is a mutation in a single gene, so theoretically this could eliminate it. The hard part will be doing the gene editing on every embryo that has it until the gene is eliminated.

    • The sickle-cell mutation isn't in a chromosomal area associated with skin colour or nose shape. The mutation has probably occurred, multiple times, in all racial groups, but the only one where it produced a significant selection advantage was in West Africa, where most people are of "African" stereotypes. (There's a non-trivial population from the Tuareg and other desert nomads in parts of West Africa, but malaria is not much of a desert disease, so the selection advantage died off as those groups moved aro
  • emacs (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:22PM (#54927465)

    Is there anything it can't do?

  • Down's Syndrome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:22PM (#54927469)

    I have a super cool teenager with Down's Syndrome, there was never a question of carrying to term, and no regrets. But I wonder if there will ever be a way to early DNA hack enough cells to flip a kid to being a mostly unmutated chimera with a shot at no physical weakness or IQ hit. I dont feel sorry for her, but what would I give for another 50 IQ points and a similar bump in social skill.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      no regrets

      Except your post was full of them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem with fixing a systemic issue like Down's Syndrome or many of the dystrophies is that the body adapts to the disease. If the disease is removed after adaptation, as you seem to wish, there are questions as to both how much recovery is still possible and whether the adapted physiology is dependent on the disease and removing it would make things worse or be too much of a shock to the system.

      Since Downs is a result of a semi-random error in the reproductive process more than the genetics of the p

    • But I wonder if there will ever be a way to early DNA hack enough cells to flip a kid to being a mostly unmutated chimera with a shot at no physical weakness or IQ hit.

      The "mostly unmutated chimera" contradicts the "no physical weakness or IQ hit" bit.

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:44PM (#54927651)

    It's going to be a fun fight, but I suspect the initial discrimination will be against the modified, not the unmodified.

    But if I can open up a catalog and choose the best designer genes to have edited into my future child so they're healthy and strong (and smart, if we figure out the rats' nest of interconnected genes influencing intelligence), damn right I'd buy every 'upgrade' I could.

    • But if I can open up a catalog and choose the best designer genes... damn right I'd buy every 'upgrade' I could.

      And thus, a subtle and unconscious admission that the benefits of such technology will likely be cost-prohibitive for the vast majority of the human population.

      • So's clean water. It's unfortunate, but life isn't fair. We can try to improve it, but it's never going to be perfect.

        • You can make a functional water filter out of sand and charcoal.

          Next strawman.

          • Go save the world, then. There are a lot of people who don't have a clean water supply, yet you're likely getting processed municipal water from your tap when you're not drinking bottled water while making ignorant and sarcastic comments on the Internet.

            It'd be just AWESOME if you got off your ass and made sure everyone on the planet had safe water before you next twist that tap for yourself.

            • Hey look, the guy too busy being offended to get the point!

              ANYONE can make a sand and charcoal water filter, assuming they have access to silica and wood.

              Genetic modification will only be available to the richest of the rich, and there's no natural substitute.

              Maybe if you weren't so focused on your own hubris, you'd get into less idiotic arguments via misunderstanding.

              • Hey look, the guy too busy being an arrogant ass to get the point!

                ANYONE can get genetic modifications, assuming they have access to a lab and supplies.

                Reliable safe drinking water is only available to portions of the industrialized world and there's no way around that.

                Maybe if you weren't so focused on your own hubris, you'd get into less idiotic arguments via misunderstanding.

                You know, and GET THE FUCKING POINT that life is unfair, and that's not a good reason to deny your children the best you can give t

  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:55PM (#54927745) Journal

    If we had this in mass use today, I believe we'd end up removing many positive attributes from the human germ line. We are very quick to limit what we consider "normal" without a full understanding of the effects beyond the individual and caregivers that a trait has.

    For example, it has been shown that ADD is a success trait in more nomadic societies. Those with ADD get "treated" today because they don't fit into our education system. Most ADD disappears as a problem in adults not because it actually goes away but because they are finally free to fill the type of slot that nature chose for them. They find a career and life that benefits from dropping stability and going.

    Another example is autism. Many of our geniuses have been a little off in the autism spectrum. Eliminating that variance in the germ line could dampen innovation forever.

    There are many other examples of traits that fill positive roles in our society that we would probably seek to edit out because the people with them don't fit into the "norm". Until we gain the capacity to understand that the norm must be judged in relation to making sure that the larger animal is "normal" and has all of its individual "organs" intact, we aren't ready for this.

    • Until we gain the capacity to understand that the norm must be judged in relation to making sure that the larger animal is "normal" and has all of its individual "organs" intact, we aren't ready for this.

      That sounds like some hocus-pocus mysticism right there. Just because some traits have some advantage in some situations doesn't mean they're "good" in any kind of objective sense, let alone that they need to be kept around. WTF do "success traits in more nomadic societies" have to do with modern human life? Why in the world should we condemn millions of children to living with debilitating autism just because maybe it will result in 1 or 2 more geniuses than we would otherwise have? These kinds of comp

      • by e r ( 2847683 )
        Autism is related to genius [nypost.com]. Long ago brilliant people were often noted to be "eccentric". Today we would consider such people to be on the autism spectrum-- high functioning, but still on the spectrum. Mozart, Newton, and many others are in this category.

        Neither I nor RhettLivingston think that millions of children ("THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!") should suffer from debilitating autism. But RhettLivingston seems to be saying that we should be cautious of simply editing out anything that isn't "normal" lest
        • You've managed to respond to all of my points without answering a single one of them. I hope the OP gives it a shot.

        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
          So who decides where to draw the line? The parents? Doctors? Politicians? How far along the spectrum do you have to be before autism is considered "serious" enough to be edited? Do you edit out all mutations, or just enough to slide to a higher functioning level on the scale? How do you control for the environmental factors? While many people embrace their "genius", plenty of others fall into depression and would gladly trade a few points of IQ just for the ability to socialize and feel comfortable aro
          • by e r ( 2847683 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:27PM (#54928951)

            So who decides where to draw the line? The parents? Doctors? Politicians?

            My gut tells me that it should be the parents who decide.

            How far along the spectrum do you have to be before autism is considered "serious" enough to be edited?

            I think that should be up to the parents.

            Do you edit out all mutations, or just enough to slide to a higher functioning level on the scale?

            The article I linked to (and other papers I've read on the subject) are indicating that there's some kind of link between high functioning autism and genius. But if we also recall the words of historical geniuses like Einstein, Edison, and Franklin they all seem to think that hard work is the most important trait; the stubborn pursuit of a thing until they get it. Autism frequently provides this obsession. So I think this all needs more study so that we can determine what exactly is the thing that we want and how do we get it without letting people suffer.

            If the parents just don't want to take any chances chasing clouds and finagling "genius" into their kid while risking full blown autism then by all means let them just edit out a potentially devastating problem in their kid.

            I'm just trying to say we shouldn't iron everyone into a "normal" because genius is, by definition, abnormal. We all want the good without the bad but in the case of genius it appears to be closely bound up and related to the bad of autism.

            Furthermore, the very diversity of traits among a species is what allows that species to continue to survive and evolve. If we put all our traits into a single "normal" basket then we risk complete loss of our species if our situation/environment changes.

            How do you control for the environmental factors?

            I don't know. I don't think anyone does for sure.

            While many people embrace their "genius", plenty of others fall into depression and would gladly trade a few points of IQ just for the ability to socialize and feel comfortable around people.

            I know. There's is a lot of tragedy involved in living. But let's not let our loathing of tragedy drive us into compounding our problems. Let's think carefully and work diligently to come up with good solutions.

            While Down's Syndrome could be "fixed" (for lack of a better term) relatively easy, autism is much more complicated.

            Agreed.

      • I think the idea that you, or anyone really, can have an "objective sense" of what genetics are worth keeping or tossing when it comes to our species sounds like hocus-pocus. Admittedly the allure of eugenics has always been strong in human societies. It essentially took the Nazi's championing it last time to get it pushed back.

  • Some clarifications (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @01:56PM (#54927749)
    1: It's not quite a dupe, but this seems to be confirmation of the previously unconfirmed story posted on Slashdot last week: https://science.slashdot.org/s... [slashdot.org]

    2: As reported in both TFA and the previous Slashdot story, the "powerful new gene-editing technique" is CRISPR. (As i'm sure many here could have guessed.)

    3: As reported in the previous Slashdot story this is not exactly a "breakthrough". It's the first time it's been done in the US (officially) but teams in other parts of the world have been done it officially (and probably unofficially) as well. This study [newscientist.com] from China earlier this year claims to be the first attempt to edit "normal" embryos, but earlier attempts had been made with "abnormal" embryos.
    • The technique is a way to allow CRISPR to be injected early enough to prevent chimerism. Previous techniques used CRISPR but had issues this technique avoids.
    • by starless ( 60879 )

      3: As reported in the previous Slashdot story this is not exactly a "breakthrough". It's the first time it's been done in the US (officially) but teams in other parts of the world have been done it officially (and probably unofficially) as well. .

      My understanding from the article is that the breakthrough aspects are: (1) all cells in the embryos where this worked had their genes
      corrected without "mosaicing", where some cells would be changed and others wouldn't. (2) No other genetic changes were introduced.
      So this is a big technical advance.

      Also, as a scientific bonus, a peculiarity was found in that the material for the genetic correction came from the eggs, rather than the
      material they introduced. However, this may be a drawback for actually makin

      • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
        So they've gone from a 16.6% success rate in the Chinese experiment to a 66.6% success rate in this one. It sounds like they're claiming the breakthrough was using CRISPR at the time of fertilization. But the Chinese experiment supposedly involved using CRISPR while the embryos were still single-celled.

        I'm unsure of A: how those two techniques differ enough to cause a success rate four times higher, and B: how the Chinese experiment ended up with two mosaics if CRISPR was used while the embryos were still
  • So this technique could be used to eliminate the problems of inbreeding depression, right?
    Asking for a friend.

  • Actually, playing god would mean introducing genetic defects. We're correcting his and nature's incompetence.

    This is only the beginning and there isn't a damned thing you paranoid luddites can do to stop it.

    • Billions of years of evolution through trial and error; versus less than 100 years of research by humans -- and you think we can do better?

      I get the technology fetish people have, especially on a tech site.. but come on. That level of hubris never works out well.

      • How about we apply that to other natural phenomenon:

        Billions of years growing food through trial and error; versus 5000 years of farming... and you think we can do better?

        Billions of years getting well through trial and error; versus less than 500 years of medicine... and you think we can do better?

        Well, yeah. I do. Very damn little turns out well when left to chance.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Trial, error and random chance.

        Yes we can do better.

        Doing better isn't hard when you have a existing product.

        We don't have to reinvent the wheel just tweak it a bit.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't wait until the Statist Elites breed themselves to superiority over the rest of us.

  • This will be a fantastic technological evolution for the likes of Warren Buffett and Donald Trump.

    For the rest of us... if they can jack up the cost of necessary medication like EpiPens by orders of magnitude, for no reason other than "profit," how accessible do you honestly think gene editing will be for you and yours?

  • If someone has bad genes just give them a pair of Levi's.
  • The experiment corrected the defect in nearly two-thirds of several dozen embryos, without causing potentially dangerous mutations elsewhere in the DNA

    Do they survey the entire genome before and after the edition to check that?

    Also, I wonder if an edition could higher (or lower) the odds of mutations later in lifetime at some specific place in the DNA

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