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Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

By Jon Holmlund The latest mind-blowing (seriously, no pun intended) report from the science literature is that a team of scientists at Yale Medical School have been able to use an artificial preservative solution to recover electrical activity in some of the cells of the brains from the severed heads of pigs that had been …

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By Jon Holmlund This week’s news is that a group of Chinese researchers have birthed and studied a small number of rhesus monkeys that were “transgenic” for a human gene associated with brain development.  In this work, monkey eggs (oocytes) were altered by adding the human form of a gene that is believed important to …

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By Jon Holmlund Last week’s New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required) included four articles addressing heritable human gene editing (HHGE, if you’ll allow the acronym).  All assumed that it would or should go forward, under oversight, rather than seeking a moratorium.  One took the position that a moratorium is a bad idea, because the …

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The current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required) includes four new articles addressing heritable human gene editing. George Daley (who was also discussed in a post on this blog last December 6) argues that work must proceed to find a responsible way of editing the human germline for people with genetic …

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By Jon Holmlund The World Health Organization (WHO) has empaneled an expert advisory committee to propose standards for governance and oversight of human gene editing. This group is to meet in Geneva on March 18 and 19 to review the state of the field, broadly, and formulate a plan for its work, over the ensuing …

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By Jon Holmlund A brief recap of reasons why we should not pursue heritable human gene editing: It seems unlikely that risks to immediately-treated generations can be predicted with the accuracy we currently and reasonably expect from human subject research and medical practice. Risks to later generations, that is, to the descendants of edited people, …

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02/08/2019 Human organ harvest
By Jon Holmlund The ethical practice of human organ transplantation entails consent from a donor to donate an organ while still living (e.g., one of the donor’s two kidneys), or after dying (e.g., the heart).  In the latter case, it is still generally accepted that the donor must be dead first, and that the harvesting …

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By Jon Holmlund Passing along word that the National Academies of Medicine and Science are planning an international commission on human gene editing, the editorial board of the New York Times has issued a welcome call to make the public discussion of the issues as broad as possible.  Read the whole thing, but this key …

Continue reading "Gene-editing public discussions: looking ahead"

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By Jon Holmlund The Hastings Center shows Christmas Day 2018 as the date of publication of its report, “Defining Death: Organ Transplantation and the Fifty-Year Legacy of the Harvard Report on Brain Death,” arising from a 2018 conference of the same title at Harvard Medical School.  The full contents are freely available at the link …

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By Jon Holmlund   The Chinese researcher who says he edited the genes of two recently-born twin girls is named He.  He’s not a deity, that’s just his name.  (I don’t think it’s pronounced with a long “e,” by the way.)  His motivation appears to have been to be the first, to show that He …

Continue reading "Gene-Edited Animals as Trailblazers"

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