Blog Posts (59)
February 5, 2016
This week, UK regulators gave approval to a group of scientists in London to genetically modify human embryos. Dr. Kathy Niakan, the researcher who will be performing the experiments, said, “We would really like to understand the genes needed for a human embryo to develop successfully into a healthy baby. The reason why it is so important is because miscarriages and infertility are extremely common,... // Read More »
February 4, 2016
This blog has carried several posts about the ethical issues surrounding gene editing in humans. The next round of public discussions is scheduled for next week, Feb. 11-12. The National Academies of Science and Medicine have been holding meetings to address the state of the science and the attendant ethical issues. In December, a first meeting was held in Washington, DC. That meeting produced a... // Read More »
January 7, 2016
Being Human: Core Readings in the Humanities, edited by Leon Kass, is one book worth a spot on the shelf of anyone interested in bioethics or concerns about human dignity. A series of excerpts from things that we read—or should have read—in high school or college, it was selected by the members of President George W. Bush’s President’s Council on Bioethics in 2003. The readings... // Read More »
December 31, 2015
A recent conversation from my IRB work—for several reasons, I must limit the details of the case: An IRB had received, for review and approval, a research protocol for gene editing of human embryos obtained from an IVF clinic. The embryos would be at about the 150-cell stage—an early stage at which some (incorrectly, as I understand the science) believe a fertilized, dividing-and-differentiating zygote has... // Read More »
December 16, 2015
Jon Holmlund’s 12/10 post on the use of somatic cell gene modification to treat sickle cell disease and two recent articles in The Telegraph have me thinking about human germline genetic modification again. One of the points in Jon’s post was that somatic cell genetic modification does not have the ethical problems of germ line genetic modification. The Telegraph articles discuss a group that has... // Read More »
December 11, 2015
The biggest ethical worry about human gene editing is that it will be used to make long-lasting, heritable changes at the embryo stage or on germ (sperm or egg) cells. Posts earlier this year have asked whether we should envision a scenario in which human germline gene editing is accepted in a limited number of cases, with the treatment of sickle cell anemia being proposed... // Read More »
December 4, 2015
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.…
December 4, 2015
A 3-day international conference on human gene editing has ended, with the conferees reportedly having issued a statement declaring it would be “irresponsible” to try to initiate a human pregnancy with an embryo that had some genes edited by modern techniques, much less create a human embryo using sperm or an egg that had been gene-edited. In the latter case, the changes would be heritable,... // Read More »
December 1, 2015
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
A few weeks ago I was watching the futuristic police procedural, Minority Report episode Memento Mori that focused on the predicted murder of a U.S.…
October 16, 2015
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
During a periodic training on the university’s harassment policies today, I learned that my institution has added “genetic information” to the list of characteristics against which one cannot be discriminated.…
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February 3, 2016 6:19 pm
An elite panel of scientists and bioethicists offered guarded approval Wednesday of a novel form of genetic engineering that could prevent congenital diseases but would result in babies with genetic material from three parents.
February 1, 2016 2:14 pm
The San Diego Archaeology Center holds a pair of extraordinary skeletons. Dating back about 9,500 years, they are among the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas.
January 29, 2016 11:08 am
Scientists say they have broken new ground in the study of schizophrenia, uncovering a potentially powerful genetic contributor to the mental disorder and helping to explain why its symptoms of confused and delusional thinking most often reach a crisis state as a person nears the cusp of adulthood.
January 28, 2016 1:07 pm
Chinese scientists report they’ve created monkeys that carry a gene linked to autism-like behaviors.
January 14, 2016 3:56 pm
The first children with debilitating “mystery” diseases have finally been given a diagnosis as part of a huge scheme to analyse people’s DNA.
January 12, 2016 11:00 am
On the kitchen table of his cramped apartment, Josiah Zayner is performing the feat that is transforming biology.
January 11, 2016 10:59 am
Illumina Launches Firm to Develop NGS Blood-Based Screening Test for Early Cancer Detection
January 4, 2016 6:27 pm
Tiny vials of recently repaired blood cells are thriving in a Stanford incubator, proof that a powerful new gene-editing technique is fixing errant genes that cause so much human suffering.
December 3, 2015 6:28 pm
As any number of magazine articles and news stories from recent months have noted, we are in the midst of a major genetic revolution. Thanks to a gene-editing technique called Crispr-Cas9, it is now not only possible, but easy, cheap and fast, to change, delete or replace genes in any plant or animal, including people.
December 1, 2015 6:27 pm
The genetically engineered mosquitoes now living in a Southern California basement lab, secured behind five locked doors, prove that it may be possible to wipe out malaria.
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