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Author Archive: Christopher Scott Thomas

About Christopher Scott Thomas


by Christopher Thomas Scott, Ph.D. and Cynthia Selin, Ph.D.

In the wake of reports that a Chinese biophysicist, He Jiankui, used a genome editing technology, CRISPR/Cas9, to modify the CCR5 gene in viable human embryos, the criticism from the international scientific and bioethics communities has been swift and unrelenting. The overwhelming conclusion is that Dr. He’s procedure was deceptive, violated Chinese law, flaunted international ethical norms and put the babies at physical risk. It was, simply put, unethical human experimentation. Dr. He has since disappeared, raising the question whether the experiment was a hoax. The long shadow of Hwang Woo-suk—the infamous human cloning fraudster—is now cast upon the scene.…

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by Christopher Thomas Scott

In April 2015 a team of Chinese scientists reported in a little known journal, Protein & Cell, the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to cleave and then repair the HBB gene in nonviable human embryos. The mutated form of HBB causes B-thalassemia, a potentially fatal blood disease. To say the experiment prompted controversy is an understatement. It was published on the heels of two high-profile commentaries in Nature and Science, both of which urged caution about using CRISPR/Cas9 and other technologies to edit the human germline; the Nature authors went so far as to recommend a stop of experiments precisely like the one reported in Protein & Cell.…

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