Scientists from Portland, Oregon, have been the first in the world to successfully create a genetically modified human embryo. The team was led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a member of the Oregon Health and Science University. He has been in the field for a long time, credited with changing the DNA of multiple singular cell embryos using CRISPR, a gene modifier technique.
U.S. Scientists First to Crack the Code
The race to genetically engineering human cells has been a long time dream and fascination for scientists from all over the world. Many regard the study and the practice as highly unconventional and has often fallen into high level controversies. Till today, only Chinese scientists were able to show results of human embryo editing, but now U.S. scientists have taken the lead. Mitalipov has created new records in embryo experimentation and has also shown that it could actually be possible to safely modify the genetic code and help remove defective genes that are the cause of congenital diseases.
Team Meets Goals they Sought
The objective of the scientists was only to show that genetic modification is possible and can be used to correct defective genes in humans. They never intended to implant the embryos into wombs, however. The process, termed germline engineering, has been regarded by many as the opening of an era of genetically perfect “designer babies.” The concept has always faced the wrath of religious and civil society groups, along with many biotechnology market players.