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Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

This blog has carried several comments about the prospect of heritable human gene editing.  While nearly no one currently supports bringing such babies to birth—and condemns those who would rush ahead to do so—it appears a distinct minority think that we the human race should, if we could, agree never to do such a thing.  …

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It is reported this week that a Russian scientist plans to edit the genes of more human embryos intending to bring gene-edited babies to birth.  As with the case in China last year, the intent is to edit a gene called CCR5 that is responsible for a receptor that facilitates initiation of HIV infection.  The …

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You may have seen in the general press that the gene-edited twin girls born in China last year may have had their life expectancies shortened in the bargain.  The doctor who edited the babies’ genes specifically edited one gene, that is associated with susceptibility to HIV infection.  Their father is HIV positive, but that does …

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Recently, it was reported that the panel convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop standards and guidelines for gene editing will ask the WHO to establish a registry for any projects on heritable human gene editing.  The idea is that, to get research funding, a project would have to be registered, and there …

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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 …

Continue reading "The (at least, an) other side of the argument about heritable human gene editing"

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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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