Genetic Manipulation and Hybridization Update

Harvard scientists will begin using CRISPR, a gene-editing tool to change DNA code inside sperm cells.

 

Harvard scientists will begin using CRISPR, a gene-editing tool to change DNA code inside sperm cells.

By ALEXI COHAN. Boston Herald. UPDATED: January 2, 2019 at 8:10 am

Altering human DNA to edit or remove mutations that cause cancer and other diseases will be moving to the forefront this year, and Harvard will be getting in on the action.

As reported in the MIT Technology review, Harvard scientists will begin using CRISPR, a gene-editing tool to change DNA code inside sperm cells. This research will help show whether it is possible to create babies with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s in the future.

However, researchers will keep their focus on sperm cells, meaning there are no embryos involved and no attempts to make a baby yet.

Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley, who spoke at a gene-editing summit in Hong Kong in November, said once the technology has matured, gene-editing should be used to shape the health of future babies by removing mutations that cause diseases like cystic fibrosis or childhood cancers.

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