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Chinese to Modify Human Embryo with CRISPR

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Tagged As: CRISPR, China, DNA, Genes, Science, and Society

A paper published by Guangzhou Medical University in China recently described their efforts to genetically modify human embryos. The CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat) technique is an industrial adaptation of a natural process for identifying bad DNA sequences and destroying them but in a controlled fashion for DNA editing. The embryos were previously considered unviable and subsequently obtained with permission under the caveat they would not be allowed to mature into actual people. Although the outcomes of the experiment are not yet clear, the CRISPR technique was used against the embryos to test if it were possible to genetically modify a human to be HIV resistant from birth. The more likely outcome of the research is a new round of global discussion on the ramifications and legalities of human gene editing.

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