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Archive for the ‘CRISPR applied to Human Germ Line’ Category


Gene-editing Second International Summit in Hong Kong: George Church, “Let’s be quantitative before we start being accusatory”

 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

UPDATED on 11/30/2018

Gene editing takes a foreboding leap forward

He Jiankui. Photo: Zhang Wei/Chinese News Service/VCG via Getty Images

 

China is temporarily suspending the work of scientists who claimed twins were born after being genetically edited as embryos.

Why it matters: The scientific consensus is that gene editing embryos at this stage of science is “irresponsible.” But, while this particular experiment has not been verified, the fact is the technology is available to researchers, so there’s a growing call for international limitations on its use.

ICYMI: Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced earlier this week that twins were born after he used the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to cut the CCR5 gene that’s known to play a role in HIV infection.

  • He stirred even more dismay when he mentioned the possibility of a second pregnancy.
  • China currently bans human implantation of gene-edited embryos. Its Ministry of Science and Technology is investigating the claims, per Xinhua.

There are concerns about the safety, efficacy and possible mosaicism, where a person can contain genes in both its edited and unedited forms, from cutting genes.

  • Editing embryos raises an even bigger concern: The genetic changes and all the unknowns around them can be passed down to future generations.

Between the lines: Not everyone viewed it as a complete disaster. For instance, Harvard Medical School’s George Daley suggested that it may be time to reconsider the massive amounts of research done over the past several years and look for plausible methods of moving forward.

What to watch: Scientists are cautious about predicting what the impact will be, in part because the details of this claim are thin. However, the debate is heating up and one concern is it will dampen important research.

  • Medical ethicist Jonathan Moreno from the University of Pennsylvania says the situation reminds him of other times in history where there were tremors in the science world, like the death of 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger in 1999 from a gene therapy trial that led to years of diminished research.

The bottom line: The alarm over what could be next is real. But scientists hope the current debate will promote consensus on firm limits and promote transparency.

Go deeper:

SOURCE

From: Andrew Freedman <andrew.freedman@axios.com>

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 5:33 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Axios Science: About that climate report — Gene editing takes a foreboding step — Building in harms’ way

 

 

He Jiankui spoke at the second international summit on human genome editing in Hong Kong. (Alex Hofford/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

CRISPR-baby scientist faces the music

The scientist who claims to have helped produce the first people born with edited genomes faced a tough crowd yesterday at a gene-editing summit in Hong Kong. He Jiankui gave a 20-minute talk about his unpublished work in animals and humans before opening a 40-minute Q&A session (watch it here). He faced difficult questions about the ethics of his work and his choice to keep it mostly under wraps until after the babies were born, and left many unanswered.

Meanwhile, prominent geneticist George Church is one of the few scientists who seem to be looking on the bright side of He’s controversial claim. “Let’s be quantitative before we start being accusatory,” Church told Science. “As long as these are normal, healthy kids it’s going to be fine for the field and the family.”

Nature | 9 min read & Science | 6 min read

Read more: Genome-edited baby claim provokes international outcry

 

SOURCE

From: Nature Briefing <briefing@nature.com>

Reply-To: Nature Briefing <briefing@nature.com>

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 12:18 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: CRISPR-baby scientist faces the music at gene-editing summit

 

See

SAVE

The ethical red flags of genetically edited babies

Driving the news: Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced Sunday night that a pair of twin girls had been born from embryos he modified using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR.

  • He hasn’t provided solid proof, but if it‘s true, it would be the first time the technology has been used to engineer a human.

What they’re saying: The inventors of CRISPR technology did not seem pleased with the development — one called for a moratorium on implantation edited embryos into potential mothers.

  • “I hope we will be more cautious in the next thing we try to do, and think more carefully about when you should use technology versus when you could use technology,” said Jessica Berg, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University.

Between the lines: Several specific factors in He’s work sent up ethical red flags.

  • Many scientists had assumed that, when this technology was first used in humans, it would edit out mutations tied to a single gene that were certain to cause a child pain and suffering once it was born — essentially, as a last resort.
  • But He used CRISPR to, as he put it, “close a door” that HIV could have one day traveled through. That has prompted some speculation that this project was more about testing the technology than serving an acute medical need.
  • “That should make us very uneasy about the whole situation,” Berg said. “Of all the things to have started with, it does make you a little suspicious about this particular choice.”

The intrigue: There’s a lot we still don’t know about He’s work, and that’s also contributing to an attitude of skepticism.

  • How many embryos did he edit and implant before these live births?
  • How will he know it worked? As the children age, they’ll likely have their blood drawn and those samples will be exposed to HIV in a lab, but researchers aren’t going to tell them to go out and have unprotected sex or use intravenous drugs — another reason HIV seems like an odd starting place for human gene editing.
  • How did this even happen? The university where He worked said he was on leave, and Chinese officials have said he’s under investigation. But gene editing is a pretty hard thing to freelance.

The other side: He defended his work in a video message, saying, “I understand my work will be controversial but I believe families need this technology and I’m willing to take the criticism for them.”

  • “Their parents don’t want a designer baby, just a child who won’t suffer from a disease which medicine can now prevent,” He said.

Yes, but: Now that this threshold may have been crossed, attempts to create “designer babies” — within the limitations of what CRISPR can do — probably aren’t far off, some experts fear.

  • There are “likely to be places that are less regulated than others, where people are going to attempt to see what they can do,” Berg said. “I wouldn’t say everything in the world has changed now, but it’s certainly the next step.”
SOURCE

https://www.axios.com/genetic-editing-baby-china-ethics-controversy-b33f8414-8b83-445c-bad5-d8407f8841f4.html

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/11/26/jennifer-doudna-and-npr-science-correspondent-joe-palca-several-interviews/

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Jennifer Doudna and NPR science correspondent Joe Palca, several interviews

 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

UPDATED on 11/27/2018

SAVE

The ethical red flags of genetically edited babies

Driving the news: Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced Sunday night that a pair of twin girls had been born from embryos he modified using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR.

  • He hasn’t provided solid proof, but if it‘s true, it would be the first time the technology has been used to engineer a human.

What they’re saying: The inventors of CRISPR technology did not seem pleased with the development — one called for a moratorium on implantation edited embryos into potential mothers.

  • “I hope we will be more cautious in the next thing we try to do, and think more carefully about when you should use technology versus when you could use technology,” said Jessica Berg, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University.

Between the lines: Several specific factors in He’s work sent up ethical red flags.

  • Many scientists had assumed that, when this technology was first used in humans, it would edit out mutations tied to a single gene that were certain to cause a child pain and suffering once it was born — essentially, as a last resort.
  • But He used CRISPR to, as he put it, “close a door” that HIV could have one day traveled through. That has prompted some speculation that this project was more about testing the technology than serving an acute medical need.
  • “That should make us very uneasy about the whole situation,” Berg said. “Of all the things to have started with, it does make you a little suspicious about this particular choice.”

The intrigue: There’s a lot we still don’t know about He’s work, and that’s also contributing to an attitude of skepticism.

  • How many embryos did he edit and implant before these live births?
  • How will he know it worked? As the children age, they’ll likely have their blood drawn and those samples will be exposed to HIV in a lab, but researchers aren’t going to tell them to go out and have unprotected sex or use intravenous drugs — another reason HIV seems like an odd starting place for human gene editing.
  • How did this even happen? The university where He worked said he was on leave, and Chinese officials have said he’s under investigation. But gene editing is a pretty hard thing to freelance.

The other side: He defended his work in a video message, saying, “I understand my work will be controversial but I believe families need this technology and I’m willing to take the criticism for them.”

  • “Their parents don’t want a designer baby, just a child who won’t suffer from a disease which medicine can now prevent,” He said.

Yes, but: Now that this threshold may have been crossed, attempts to create “designer babies” — within the limitations of what CRISPR can do — probably aren’t far off, some experts fear.

  • There are “likely to be places that are less regulated than others, where people are going to attempt to see what they can do,” Berg said. “I wouldn’t say everything in the world has changed now, but it’s certainly the next step.”
SOURCE

https://www.axios.com/genetic-editing-baby-china-ethics-controversy-b33f8414-8b83-445c-bad5-d8407f8841f4.html

 

 

UPDATED on 11/26/2018

  1. CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna explains gene-editing …

    news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/05/crispr…

    Doudna, who spoke at Harvard’s Science Center, explained the work that led to the development of CRISPR/Cas9 geneediting technology, which was described in a paper in the journal Science in 2012. A sign of how quickly the techniques would be adopted by her scientific colleagues came within months.

  2. Eventbrite – Science History Institute presents Jennifer A. Doudna, “CRISPR Biology and Biotechnology: the Future of Genome Editing” – Friday, November 16, 2018 at Science History Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

  3. A pioneer of the Crispr geneediting technology that’s taken Wall Street by storm says the field is probably five to 10 years away from having an approved therapy for patients.

  4. A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power …

    thehumanist.com/magazine/november-december-2017/…

    BOOK BY JENNIFER DOUDNA AND SAMUEL STERNBERG HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT, 2017 304 PP.; $28.00 (HARDCOVER) $14.99 (KINDLE) CRISPR is the basis of a genome editingtechnology—the latest breakthrough in the grand tradition that began over 400 generations ago when we started to grow wheat and rice instead of just picking its wild cousins.

  5. The CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology was discovered in 2012 by campus professor of chemistry, molecular biology and biochemistry Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, director at the Max …

  6. 2 hours ago · The International Summit on Human Genome Editing begins here on Tuesday and many researchers, ethicists, and policymakers attending the meeting first learned of He’s claim through media reports.

 

 

Video of Conversation With Jennifer Doudna and NPR’s Joe Palca

WATCH VIDEO

https://today.lbl.gov/2018/01/26/video-of-conversation-with-jennifer-doudna-and-nprs-joe-palca/

Published on Jan 24, 2018

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This conversation between Berkeley Lab researcher Jennifer Doudna and NPR science correspondent Joe Palca took place on on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. The event was the first in the Director’s Distinguished Women in Science speaker series, a venue for women scientists to share their work and perspectives with the Lab community. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/berkeleylab/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/berkeleylab Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BerkeleyLab/ More Berkeley Lab news: http://bit.ly/BerkeleyLabNews Subscribe: https://youtube.com/berkeleylab
SOURCE

Jennifer Doudna Talks CRISPR Origins, Implications with NPR’s Joe Palca

SOURCE

http://biosciences.lbl.gov/2017/12/01/jennifer-doudna-talks-crispr-origins-implications-nprs-joe-palca/

 

Jennifer Doudna featured on NPR’s Morning Edition for her work on CRISPR/Cas9 — a tool for editing genes

October 13, 2014
Jennifer Doudna. Jennifer Doudna. Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs

UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition for her work on CRISPR/Cas9 — a tool for editing genes. Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues showed that CRISPR/Cas9, can be used with great precision to selectively disable or add several genes at once in human cells, offering a potent new tool to understand and treat complex genetic diseases.

Read more and listen to the full story, “In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With the Basics.”

SOURCE

https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/news/jennifer-doudna-featured-nprs-morning-edition-her-work-crisprcas9-tool-editing-genes

 

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