First Human Embryos Edited in U.S.


Shoukhrat Mitalipov is the first U.S.-based scientist known to have edited the DNA of human embryos. OHSU/KRISTYNA WENTZ-GRAFF
Researchers have demonstrated they can efficiently improve the DNA of human embryos.

By Steve Connor | MIT Technology Review

The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon, MIT Technology Review has learned.

The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice. To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.

Now Mitalipov is believed to have broken new ground both in the number of embryos experimented upon and by demonstrating that it is possible to safely and efficiently correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases.

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