Category Archives: Germ Line Engineering

Call for a Moratorium on CRISPR Editing to Modify Human …

Posted: August 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Nobel Prize winners raise alarm over genetic engineering of humans. A group of senior American scientists and ethics experts is calling for debate on the gene-engineering of humans, warning that technology able to change the DNA of future generations is now imminent. In policy recommendations published today in the journal Science, eighteen researchers, including two Nobel Prize winners, say scientists should accept a self-imposed moratorium on any attempt to create genetically altered children until the safety and medical reasons for such a step can be better understood. The concern is over a rapidly advancing gene-editing technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, which is giving scientists the ability to easily alter the genome of living cells and animals (see Genome Surgery). The same technology could let scientists correct DNA letters in a human embryo or egg cell, for instance to create children free of certain disease-causing genes, or perhaps with improved genetics. What we are trying to do is to alert people to the fact that this is now easy, says David Baltimore, a Nobel Prize winner and former president of Caltech, and an author of the letter. We cant use the cover we did previously, which is that it was so difficult that … Continue reading

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Germ Line Engineering the Perfect Baby – disinformation

Posted: August 2, 2015 at 2:42 am

Scientists are developing ways to edit the DNA of tomorrows children. Should they stop before its too late? asks Antonio Regalado for MIT Technology Review: If anyone had devised a way to create a genetically engineered baby, I figured George Church would know about it. Photo: Kenny Louie (CC) At his labyrinthine laboratory on the Harvard Medical School campus, you can find researchers giving E. Coli a novel genetic code never seen in nature. Around another bend, others are carrying out a plan to use DNA engineering to resurrect the woolly mammoth. His lab, Church likes to say, is the center of a new technological genesisone in which man rebuilds creation to suit himself. When I visited the lab last June, Church proposed that I speak to a young postdoctoral scientist named Luhan Yang, a Harvard recruit from Beijing whod been a key player in developing a new, powerful technology for editing DNA called CRISPR-Cas9. With Church, Yang had founded a small company to engineer the genomes of pigs and cattle, sliding in beneficial genes and editing away bad ones. As I listened to Yang, I waited for a chance to ask my real questions: Can any of this be … Continue reading

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Genetically Engineered Babies. Germ Line Engineering with …

Posted: April 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

If anyone had devised a way to create a genetically engineered baby, I figured George Church would know about it. At his labyrinthine laboratory on the Harvard Medical School campus, you can find researchers giving E. Coli a novel genetic code never seen in nature. Around another bend, others are carrying out a plan to use DNA engineering to resurrect the woolly mammoth. His lab, Church likes to say, is the center of a new technological genesisone in which man rebuilds creation to suit himself. When I visited the lab last June, Church proposed that I speak to a young postdoctoral scientist named Luhan Yang, a Harvard recruit from Beijing whod been a key player in developing a new, powerful technology for editing DNA, called CRISPR-Cas9. With Church, Yang had founded a small company to engineer the genomes of pigs and cattle, sliding in beneficial genes and editing away bad ones. As I listened to Yang, I waited for a chance to ask my real questions: Can any of this be done to human beings? Can we improve the human gene pool? The position of much of mainstream science has been that such meddling would be unsafe, irresponsible, and even … Continue reading

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Engineering the Perfect Baby

Posted: March 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm

If anyone had devised a way to create a genetically engineered baby, I figured George Church would know about it. At his labyrinthine laboratory on the Harvard Medical School campus, you can find researchers giving E. Coli a novel genetic code never seen in nature. Around another bend, others are carrying out a plan to use DNA engineering to resurrect the woolly mammoth. His lab, Church likes to say, is the center of a new technological genesisone in which man rebuilds creation to suit himself. When I visited the lab last June, Church proposed that I speak to a young postdoctoral scientist named Luhan Yang, a Harvard recruit from Beijing whod been a key player in developing a new, powerful technology for editing DNA called CRISPR-Cas9. With Church, Yang had founded a small company to engineer the genomes of pigs and cattle, sliding in beneficial genes and editing away bad ones. As I listened to Yang, I waited for a chance to ask my real questions: Can any of this be done to human beings? Can we improve the human gene pool? The position of much of mainstream science has been that such meddling would be unsafe, irresponsible, and even … Continue reading

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No to genetic engineering of humans! – Human Genetics Alert

Posted: November 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

David King From GenEthics News issue 9 One of the recurrent horror scenarios of genetic engineering is the creation of armies of engineered blond 'super-soldiers'. As geneticists are often at pains to point out, we are very far from realising such a scenario. It does not seem necessary to explain why the attempt to create 'super races' is undesirable, but there are already many people arguing that genetic engineering of humans could be used for medical benefit. At present the technology does exists to introduce genes into human cells, and a massive industry is being created around the still very experimental technology of gene therapy. So far, only somatic cells (body cells other than the 'germ line' - the cells that give rise to sperm and eggs) have been manipulated in this way in humans. But in animals, engineering of the germ line, to create transgenic animals, particularly mice, is commonplace (see GEN5, p5). In Britain, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act prohibits genetic engineering of human embryos, after fertilisation, but is silent on attempts to engineer eggs and sperm. With some exceptions, the current consensus in the medical and scientific world seems to be that germ line engineering (GLE) … Continue reading

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Smithsonian reports fiery-red coral species discovered in the Peruvian Pacific

Posted: February 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

7 hours ago A new coral species, Psammogorgia hookeri, has been collected by scuba divers from rocky ledges at depths to 25 meters in Peru's Paracas National Reserve. Credit: Yuri Hooker A new coral species, Psammogorgia hookeri, has been collected by scuba divers from rocky ledges at depths to 25 meters in Peru's Paracas National Reserve. The corals' hand-sized colonies are slightly smaller than the colonies of their closest relative. Costa Rican researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the University of Costa Rica have named the coral for Yuri Hooker, biologist and naturalist at the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University in Lima, Peru. Researchers also found bits of coral attached to mussels from Independence Bay at a local fish market. "This new species may be found nowhere else in the world," said Hector Guzman, marine biologist at STRI. "But coral reefs and coral communities in Peru have never been systematically studied. We expect more surprises as we look at new collections." Odalisca Breedy, lead author of the new species report in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, and Guzmn are experts in soft coral taxonomy and ecology. To date, they have discovered nearly 25 new … Continue reading

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