A CRISPR first: editing normal human embryos.

In the first ever report of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tool being used on normal human embryos, a team of Chinese scientists had mixed results, New Scientist writes. The team first created embryos with genetic mutations that caused two different diseases: β-thalassemia and favism (an anemia caused by eating fava beans). When they tried correcting the mutations using CRISPR-Cas9, their success rate was one in four for β-thalassemia and two in two for favism, they report this month in Molecular Genetics and Genomics. That’s better than the 10% success rate for genetically abnormal embryos, but far more work needs to be done before the technique is ready for prime time, say other scientists.

CRISPR debate fueled by publication of second human embryo–editing paper


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