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Recently, scientists managed to edit successfully the DNA of a human embryo. This is a first in the medical world, and it happened with the purpose of erasing an inheritable heart condition. The condition was already known for causing young athletes a sudden death. This is an important step for the medicine in general.
A World First
It’s the first time in history when scientists managed to edit human embryos. According to the researchers, their work in this subject has been very basic. They let the embryos grow a couple of days, but they didn’t plan to implant them anywhere so as to create a pregnancy.
However, they admitted that they plan on going on with the science, their final goal being to correct the genes found in embryos that trigger various diseases. The news about this extraordinary experiment were published last week. The final details of the work were made public on Wednesday, through a paper published in the journal Nature.
Joy or Horror?
For the experiment, the scientists used the tool named CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). This is, in fact, a sort of molecular scissors capable of doing amazing things. With this, researchers were able to push our knowledge about the world further and further. Needless to say, people are looking at the new developments both with joy and with horror.
What makes the last advancement so controversial is the fact that it implies some changes made to the germ line. Simply put, this relies on genes that can be passed on to other generations. However, the U.S. has forbidden the use of federal funds for purposes of embryo research. Moreover, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is not allowed to take into account any clinical trials relying on genetic modifications.