Ethical frameworks, rules, laws: all try to have their say.
CRISPR technology could have momentous effects if it's used to edit genes that will be inherited by future generations. Researchers and ethicists continue to weigh appropriate guidelines.
When it comes to reproduction, couple have more choices than ever before.
A ban on clinical trials involving gene editing rules out the controversial procedure done in China. But it also prevents procedures that could offer couples a chance for healthy children without genetic disorders.
What’s the best way to put the brakes on current research?
Scientists and ethicists have called for a five-year moratorium on editing human genes that will pass on to future generations. Yes, society needs to figure out how to proceed – but is this the best way?
Experts have called for a moratorium on clinical research with CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing.
of the germline — that is changing heritable DNA in sperm, eggs or embryos to make genetically modified children.
CRISPR gene editing should learn from the Slow Food movement. Scientists must allow time for critical conversations and perfecting of techniques before rewriting the source code of humanity.
Gene editing a fertilized human embryo.
Scientists worldwide are calling for a moratorium on gene editing in germline cells. But what is a germline cell? How does it differ from other cells in our body? Why does it matter if we edit them?
CRISPR is a gene editing tool that can create permanent changes in the human genome.
Four months ago a researcher claimed he had used the tool CRISPR to edit the genomes of twin girls. Now prominent researchers and ethicists are calling for a temporary halt to this sort of work.
Cows at the University of California, Davis beef research facility. Photo credit:
Alison Van Eenennaam/ University of California, Davis
According to current regulations, animals that have been genetically edited, like pigs or cows, are considered drugs. What are the consequences of such rules on American livestock and agriculture?
Should parents be allowed to build their babies by design?
Imagine a future society where parents can choose the characteristics of their children. Does that turn babies into consumer products., and what choice does the child get?
Can’t sleep: these cloned macaque monkeys are missing a gene involved in regulating the sleep/wake cycle.
Chinese Academy of Sciences via AAP
Researchers in China have produce a world first: gene edited, cloned macaque monkeys. They say such animals will be vital for research on human health – but ethical concerns remain.
China recently became the first country to land on the far side of the moon.
A pragmatic approach rather than active concealment is to blame for China's lack of research transparency.
Genetically engineered mice are invaluable for learning about human disease.
When geneticists create mice with special traits, there is no way to be sure that they will be inherited by the offspring. But a new genetic tool called a gene drive may fix the problem.
Ash tree killed by the invasive emerald ash borer.
K Steve Cope
Forests in the US face many threats: climate change, invasive species, pests and pathogens. Could genetically engineering trees make these plants more resilient?
Anopheles stephensi mosquito bites a human to get a blood meal through its pointed proboscis. A droplet of blood is expelled from the abdomen after having engorged itself.
Jim Gathany/Wikimedia Commons
Researchers are exploring genetic forms of population control called gene drives that spread traits faster that happens naturally. The goal is to curb mosquito-borne diseases like malaria.
Megacity Shenzhen, as seen from Hong Kong, is a center for Chinese finance and tech.
AP Photo/Kin Cheung
CRISPR babies may be just the beginning. China has a different take than the West on ethics and how to get ahead in business and other endeavors.
Editing just one gene in an embryo could create many unanticipated side-effects once the baby is born.
Genome editing technology has, and will always have, limits. Limits that are related not to the technology itself but to the intrinsic complexity of the human genome.
Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses.
Gene editing through CRISPR may have greater consequences than climate change or unleashing the energy of the atom.
China’s military may bear the brunt of hits to the country’s scientific reputation.
Roman Pilipey/Pool Photo via AP
In an era of big scientific collaborations, China's renegade actions have hurt its reputation. As international researchers back away, it may be the country's military that ultimately suffers.
What does oversight really ensure?
Questions abound about whether the scientist who created the first gene edited human beings took shortcuts in the ethical oversight process. But pedantically focusing on protocol misses the point.
Any children born of genome editing are genetic mosaics with uncertain resistance to disease.
Chinese researcher, Jainkui He claims to have created the world's first genome-edited twins. Such action would pose unknown risks to the lives of these children and to humanity as a whole.
Chinese scientists led by He Jiankui claimed they used CRISPR to modify human embryos that eventually were born as twin girls.
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
The announcement of the birth of babies with edited genes has been met by a deluge of scientific and ethical criticism. Public discussion focuses on risks and benefits – was breaking this taboo worth it?