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Posted on September 1, 2017 at 12:36 AM

Nature reports that the editing of a gene in human embryos–reported earlier in August and discussed recently on this blog–has been questioned by a different group of scientists.

Read a fuller, general-public-level description here.

The questioning scientists doubt a specific claim of the initial work; namely, that a faulty gene in human sperm was edited through a corresponding gene in the human egg fertilized by that sperm, yielding a normal embryo.  This was reported to underlie a remarkably high rate of success in the gene editing process in a group of these embryos.  They’ve submitted a paper with their findings, for publication.

The initial scientists say “balderdash,” the other folks don’t know what they are talking about.  Well, they’re more sophisticated in their wording than that, and there is a legitimate difference of scientific opinion here.  It will have to be adjudicated by reviews of the actual data.

But in the meantime doubts have been raised about the reliability of the initial report.  Nobody’s claiming fraud, just misinterpretation.

We should watch that space for more.

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