Scientists have for the first time to "turn off" a gene in the human embryo
Genetics in animal experiments have long been used CRISPR / Cas9 genome editor, but scientists from the United States first in the world entered a new phase of testing: to experiment on humans. They managed to successfully disable the Oct4 gene in a one-day human embryo.
Experts say that in their experiment, there is nothing that would be contrary to generally accepted standards of ethics. For example, for in vitro fertilization clinics because of the high probability of death of the embryo physicians use to 30 eggs. The rest are "superfluous." It is their scientists and used for experiments. One of the scientists who participated in the experiment, James Turner, said that this study is the first in history when geneticists were able to successfully exclude the impact of one of the genes responsible for the development of the embryo, as well as discover some "unexpected features of the Oct4 gene." In particular, it became clear that its role in embryonic development is the growth of embryonic stem cells and the formation of the placenta. Deactivation gene causes death of human embryo cells at a very early stage. Remarkably, these changes in the embryos of rodents at the "turn off" the same gene does not occur. In addition, in case of damage Oct4 gene in humans develops cardiac hypertrophy. So in theory, the replacement of "the broken" gene can lead to the birth of a healthy person.
Now, US scientists intend to continue experiments in editing the genome of human embryos. They hope that in the future with the help of CRISPR / Cas9 be able to achieve success in the prevention of a number of dangerous diseases, such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, congenital intolerance to certain foods, and so on.