History in the making: Scientists managed to remove flawed gene from embryo

A team of scientists from the US, South Korea and China managed to remove a flawed gene from a human embryo that can lead to a hereditary heart disease. This is the first time this has ever been accomplished.
Illustration Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Yesterday (Wednesday), it was revealed that for the first time ever, scientists succeeded in correcting flawed DNA of a human embryo, thus preventing it from developing hereditary heart disease. According to the scientists from the US, South Korea and China, the procedure could potentially prevent up to 10,000 hereditary diseases.

The genetic flaw that was removed is very popular with approximately 1 in 500 people suffering from it. The flaw could lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Every person who carries the flawed gene has a 50 percent likelihood of passing it to his children.

The procedure isn’t expected to become routine in the near future as further research is necessary.

“None of the embryos we generated in this study were for reproductive purposes but if they were, the idea is that they wouldn’t carry this mutation so the parents wouldn’t have to worry about transferring this to their children,” said Director of the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy at Oregon Health and Science University Shoukhrat Mitalipov. “More importantly, the children wouldn’t transmit it further either. This would completely eradicate this disease in this lineage for this family.”



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