Shanghai Scientists Discover Method For Correcting Gene Abnormalities

By Bryan Grogan, June 4, 2019

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A team of researchers in Shanghai have discovered a method of detecting and correcting gene abnormalities such as Angelman syndrome in nonhuman mammals, China Daily reports. The group of scientists initially tested their method on lab mice and were able detect gene abnormalities and then use gene-editing to correct these abnormalities. 

The method focused on reproductive eggs, rather than sperm, as eggs contribute more in the embryo-making process and contribute more genetic information. The next step in the process will accordingly be to test the method on humans. 

Elsewhere, Chinese scientists in Shanghai are calling for explicit rules surrounding gene-editing. Professor Yang Hui, whose team use a variant of CRISPR technology, called base-editing, said that the legal production of gene-edited babies may only be one or two years away, according to South China Morning Post

A previous high-profile gene-editing case occurred in November of last year when controversial Shenzhen-based scientist He Jiankui made headlines after he revealed to media that he had successfully used CRISPR technology to alter the CCR5 gene in a number of embryos, thereby making them immune to the HIV virus.

According to a study published in Nature Medicine this week, new evidence suggests that He Jiankui’s work on the CCR5 gene may have put his patients at risk of premature death. 

READ MORE: Controversial Gene-Editing Scientist To Face Punishment in China

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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