For the first time, scientists in the US have successfully edited the DNA of viable human embryos using the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR, according to a report by MIT Technology Review. Gaining the ability to edit human DNA is the first step toward one day allowing scientists to prevent babies from being born with incurable diseases or disabilities. But further success with this kind of research is likely to raise the heated discussion on the ethical implications of genetically altering human embryos.
The research — which has yet to be published — was led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University. It involved editing a “large number” of viable embryos and effectively correcting disease-causing genes, according to MIT Technology Review.