Now he’s toiling to understand just what happened. Biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov knew he’d done something pretty big: He’d conducted the first experiment in the U.S. to edit a dysfunctional gene in a viable human embryo. That was sure to spark a debate about designer babies and draw ire from the anti-abortion groups that so vehemently oppose such research

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More than 116,000 Americans are waiting to receive an organ transplant, and about 20 die each day during the wait. Scientists are eager to find solutions to the organ shortage

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The disease may be among the first to be treated with the novel gene-editing tool

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The first “test-tube baby” made headlines around the world in 1978, setting off intense debate on the ethics of researching human embryos and reproductive technologies. Every breakthrough since then has raised the same questions about “designer babies” and “playing God” – but public response has grown more subdued rather than more engaged as technologies have become increasingly sophisticated and powerful

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Human eggs are the key starting point for the groundbreaking experiments underway in this lab. It’s run by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a biologist who’s been on the cutting edge of embryonic genetic research for decades

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In a striking advance that helps open the door to organ transplants from animals, researchers have created gene-edited piglets cleansed of viruses that might cause disease in humans

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“People who want to gain access to these techniques can find people willing to perform them in venues where they are able to do so,” said Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Center for Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. “That underscores the importance of international discussion of what norms we will follow.”

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The ethical and practical debates over using the DNA-editing method CRISPR to alter human embryos just got less hypothetical. A week after the news leaked out, a US-based team has published the first rigorous demonstration that CRISPR can efficiently repair a gene defect in human embryos without introducing new mutations elsewhere. With comments from our Jeffrey Kahn

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