UK Scientists Apply for License to Edit Genes in Human Embryos


The world of genome editing has taken the scientific community by storm in the past few years with the rapid development of the now familiar CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The ancient antiviral mechanism first discovered in bacteria has since been tailored into a molecular tool-kit for gene editing that surpasses its predecessors in its ease of manipulation, range of application and most importantly its specificity and precision. This makes it an attractive candidate for approaching a hitherto flammable area of research: genome editing in human embryos, referred to as ‘germ-line’ editing. Now, a team of scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London have applied for permission to edit genomes of early human embryos to “provide fundamental insights into the early stages of human development.