Ethics

George Church’s Startup Testing Pig Organs in Primates

eGenesis has announced that it is now testing pig organs on primates to see if they safe for human use. If successful, this practice could solve the current shortage of human organs for transplantation. The company has declared that the pig organs are the most highly engineered ever created by surgeons.

Russian Scientist Plans to CRISPR-Edit More Babies

Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov has announced his intentions to produce further gene-edited babies, ignoring the scientific consensus that this should not be done until an ethical framework is constructed to regulate the science involved. Rebrikov’s plans could occur before the end of the year if he receives approval in time.

CRISPR Twins’ Lives Could Be Shortened by Two Years

He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who created the first gene-edited twin children last year, could have unknowingly shortened their lives by more than 1.9 years. A study into the DNA and death records of 400,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank found the genetic mutations to gene CCR5 were “of quite strong effect.”

Genomic Innovations Will Bring Increased Legal Action

Questions around legality, protecting privacy and ensuring quality of data in DNA sequencing all need answering, a symposium recently held at the University of Minnesota has announced. LawSeq, a $2 million project looking to solve the issue of privacy and legality in sequencing, is exploring how to ensure the legal world catches up with current science.

WHO to Create Gene Editing Expert Panel

The World Health Organization is establishing an expert panel to set guidelines and standards on the ethical and safety issues of gene editing, the body has announced. This follows the recent revelation that a scientist in China claimed he had edited the genes of twin babies to make them HIV resistant.

CRISPR-Edited Twins Allegedly Born in China

Twin girls in China have allegedly been born after having their embryonic genetic code modified using CRISPR. Chinese researcher He Jiankui, from the Southern University of Science and Technology, claims to have turned off a gene called CCR5 to offer total protection against HIV, as well as smallpox and cholera.

Immature human eggs created from blood cells

Japanese scientists have created an immature human egg using stem cells created from blood cells, as reported in the Science journal. Although such eggs have been created in a lab before, this is the first time human blood has been used to do it.

MP’s Vote to Remain in EMA Post-Brexit

MPs vote 305-301 that the UK should negotiate to remain part of the European Medicines Agency following Brexit, sending “a clear message that patients and public health should be a top priority”.