China first to begin human gene-editing

But China has beaten them to the punch and already carried out a procedure to a lung cancer patient and is awaiting progress.
By Ian Marsh | Nov 27, 2016
Ongoing research on altering the gene makeup in humans has been going on for almost ten years.

A lot of progress has been achieved this year, and the US had estimated to start human trials early 2017. But China has beaten them to the punch and already carried out a procedure to a lung cancer patient and is awaiting progress.

The technology has been named CRISPR clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats. The technique involves editing the problem causing genome in the DNA. Usually, a minuscule alteration of a gene can cause significant changes to the overall structure of the organ and the organism.

However, the good thing is the genome involved is a duplication of the same structure. This discovery involves identifying the problem causing genome, copying the adjusted genome, removing the infected structure and reintroducing the cloned genome in place of the infected.

Emanuelle Charpenter is the principal discoverer of the technique and has won multiple awards for it.

"What the system does, is recognize an individual particular gene, in the genome of our cells and correct mutation by doing some copy pasting," she said. The system can edit the gene like we do text and change the functioning of the gene."

The scientific community has stated that this is a very significant discovery in the battle to eradicate disease on the planet. A section of scientists is looking to use the technique to introduce bacteria that will be produced by the body to a battle viral disease that many do not have a cure for HIV.

But some sections are pointing out moral and ethical practices. Especially to the Chinese who are doing embryo studies and alterations.

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