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Thread: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

  1. #11
    Administrator Harley's Avatar
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    Re: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

    FLASHBACK!

    Thanks Fred!

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    Administrator Ross's Avatar
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    Re: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

    Swedish biologist attempts to edit DNA of healthy human embryos, stoking concerns over designer babies.

    Article:

    A SWEDISH developmental biologist is trying to edit the DNA of healthy human embryos, stoking concerns over the potential production of designer babies.

    It’s the first known case in which a scientist has tried to modify the DNA of healthy human embryos by using a famous new genetic engineering tool known as CRISPR-Cas9.

    Swedish scientist Fredrik Lanner is undertaking the work in order to find out more about embryos, stem cells and ultimately help women suffering from infertility, miscarriages as well as a number of diseases, reports NPR.

    CRISPR-Cas9 is a recently emerged technology that can be thought of as acting like a tiny pair molecular scissors that can cut and alter nucleotides which make up DNA, enabling scientists to find and modify or replace genetic defects.

    “If we can understand how these early cells are regulated in the actual embryo, this knowledge will help us in the future to treat patients with diabetes, or Parkinsons, or different types of blindness and other diseases,” Lanner said.

    “It’s not a technology that should be taken lightly. I really, of course, stand against any sort of thoughts that one should use this to design designer babies or enhance for aesthetic purposes,” he added.

    NPR reporter Rob Stein who broke the story travelled to Sweden to tour the laboratory where the unprecedented work is taking place. The revolutionary technology has the potential to eradicate large swathes of diseases but it is not without its challenges and potential pitfalls, he noted.

    There is a plausible concern that such a technique could accidentally introduce an error into the human gene pool, thereby inadvertently creating a new disease which could be passed on for generations.

    The use of CRISPR has also set off a fierce debate about the ethical implications of
    using the cutting-edge science to pick and choose the human condition.


    “The fear is that they could use these techniques to create, someway, genetically modified people. You know designer babies where parents pick and choose the traits of their babies, make them taller, stronger, smarter or something like that,” Mr Stein said.

    “We’re nowhere near being able to do that but the concern is that this could open the door to someway somebody trying that.”

    Despite the lack of understanding about the precise heritability of intelligence, it is plausible that CRISPR could be used to enhance the intellect of unborn babies, not just its physical traits.

    “In my opinion, CRISPR could in principle be used to boost the expected intelligence of an embryo by a considerable amount,” James J. Lee, a researcher at University of Minnesota told Scientific American this month.

    He was a part of a team of scientists that found 74 genetic variants which can be used to predict a 20 per cent variation in educational performance, resulting in a study published in the Journal Nature.

    Prof Lanner said his sole concern with his work was to fight disease and help women having trouble reproducing, but said it’s impossible to completely mitigate the concerns of critics.

    “I think this is something with all new technology, that it has good use and it has use that is not morally acceptable, like designing babies or making sure you have a blue-eyed baby or something similar,” he said.

    “The only way we can sort of prevent that from happening is to have good laws regulating this.”

    Earlier in the year UK scientists won permission to edit the genes of human embryos in order to do similar work to that being carried out by Prof Lanner, despite protests made by groups opposed to embryonic and stem cell research.

    As Mr Stein pointed out; “there are other scientists in other parts of the world that are starting to do experiments that are using genetically modified embryos.”

    In April last year Chinese scientists reportedly edited the genomes of human embryos which confirmed widespread rumours that such experiments were being conducted. Despite the fact they did not use healthy human embryos, it sparked a heated global debate and prompted calls for tight regulation across the globe.

    George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School called reports of the Chinese experiments “a cautionary tale”.
    “Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes,” he said.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...d47f69209101ce

  3. #13
    Administrator Ross's Avatar
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    Re: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

    Latest article:

    China kicks off CRISPR race with first human trials.

    CHINESE scientists have become the first in the world to use a revolutionary new gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 on living humans.

    Scientists at Sichuan University in Chengdu have injected a person with aggressive lung cancer with cells modified using the gene-splicing technology in a bid to make the patient’s immune system more effective at combating cancer cells.
    It represents the first human trials of the technology with the United States expected to conduct its own cancer fighting trials next year.

    CRISPR is a recently emerged technology that can be thought of as acting like a tiny pair molecular scissors that can cut and alter nucleotides which make up DNA, enabling scientists to find and modify or replace genetic defects.

    The Chinese trial is expected to trigger a global race to carry out human trials of the groundbreaking medical technology throughout the world.

    “I think this is going to trigger ‘Sputnik 2.0,’ a biomedical duel on progress between China and the United States, which is important since competition usually improves the end product,” Carl June, from the University of Pennsylvania who will be involved with the US trial told the journal Nature.

    CRISPR holds truly immense potential but there is also the possibility of irreparable damage if used without the proper precautions and research.

    There is a plausible concern that such a technique could accidentally introduce an error into the human gene pool, thereby inadvertently creating a new disease which could be passed on for generations.

    The use of CRISPR has also set off a fierce debate about the ethical implications of potentially using the cutting-edge science to pick and choose the human condition.

    “The fear is that they could use these techniques to create, someway, genetically modified people. You know designer babies where parents pick and choose the traits of their babies, make them taller, stronger, smarter or something like that,” NPR reporter Rob Stein said in a recent report of a Swedish scientist using the technique to edit human embryos.

    Despite the lack of understanding about the precise heritability of intelligence, it is plausible that CRISPR could be used to enhance the intellect of unborn babies, not just its physical traits.

    “In my opinion, CRISPR could in principle be used to boost the expected intelligence of an embryo by a considerable amount,” James J. Lee, a researcher at University of Minnesota told Scientific American earlier this year.

    While the potential for designer babies is often what makes the headlines in regards to CRISPR, its potential to fight disease is enormous — and China has taken an important step in that pursuit.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...29d1c2d71c579c
    Ross
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    Adam Bomm (11-16-2016)

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    Senior Member Adam Bomm's Avatar
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    Re: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

    now that's interesting. Science continues to outstrip its contemporary ethical framework. I'm for any forward movement but I'm sure the outcry will be huge.

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    Ross (12-09-2016)

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    Administrator Ross's Avatar
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    Re: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

    The name is an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” which refers to the way bacteria works to fight off infection. It was initially noticed in yoghurt more than ten years ago before scientists realised that what made for “bad dairy” had crucial scientific implications.

    Ten years later, scientists including Dr. Carl June, Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Feng Zhan have made the technique more “user friendly” by showing that any piece of DNA could be effectively “edited” to remove or change unwanted traits in what has been described as a “game changer”.

    As Alice Park puts it for TIME, CRISPR “allows scientists to easily and inexpensively find and alter virtually any piece of DNA in any species”. It’s the “most extensive manipulation of the human genome ever attempted.”

    In real life, it could see cells extracted, “edited” and reintroduced to fight cancer, or other genetic disease. It could mean cutting out predispositions to being overweight, or having curly hair and be passed down to future generations condemning certain features to the past.

    A similar technique has already been used on baby Layla Richards in the UK who had an aggressive leukaemia reversed after engineered cells were added to her system. The success shocked doctors and she is the first person to have her life saved by the technique.

    It’s also been used to create micropigs in China for sale with customised coats planned for the future. Breeders of Koi Carp are keen to be able to edit patterns on their fish to gain top prices, while mushrooms, mosquitos and dogs have also been subject to the technique.

    Soon Napster founder Sean Parker’s Cancer Institute will fund a study of 18 patients who will have their cells removed, edited and “reinfused”. The billionaire who once spent US$4.5 million to hold a Lord of the Rings inspired forest wedding has spent US$250 million on a cancer centre that will conduct pioneering research in a move helping scientists reduce reliance on government funding.

    “We need to take big, ambitious bets to advance cancer treatment,” Parker told TIME. “We’re trying to lead the way in doing more aggressive, cutting-edge stuff that couldn’t get funded if we weren’t around.”


    ‘A RED LINE’

    This year, the UK became the first country to approve use of the technique in embryos. It then extended the period they can be used from 14 to 28 days in a move that sparked criticism it could lead to a “slippery slope” towards creating the first gene-edited human.

    Professor Doudna told the BBC she had a nightmare in which a man professed interest in her technique who turned out to be Hitler. Speaking to Panorama earlier this year she said their needs to be a “global conversation” about changes that would be passed down the generations for humans.

    There are also questions to be raised about “gene drives” which allow a trait to spread quickly through a population that could, for example, eliminate mosquitos without the need for insecticides. Others fear it could lead to designer babies or allow wealthy parents to select genetic advantage for their children.

    Despite the fears, scientists involved say they’re only just beginning to see the number of ways they can “harness” the process.

    “Labs around the world have adopted it for applications in animals, plants, humans, other bacteria, essentially any kind of organism that labs are studying….[It’s] something that gives this technology an impact that we can only imagine when we got started,” she said.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...8501c907f2efa3
    Ross
    ***Fred Coleman, Founding Partner, Beloved Friend***
    who passed away 11/10/2016
    Rest in Peace
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  8. #16
    Senior Member Adam Bomm's Avatar
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    Re: CRISPR...A must watch and read.

    Hey Ross,

    this is really interesting in that medical and technological ethics are struggling to keep pace with the changes. I think it is a good thing that people want to consider the ramifications. But what always happens in such situations is that the huge crowd of defeatist hysterics make every effort to dominate the discourse. I also am pretty pro scientific advancement. It is the nature of the human species...Why deny it? It is a great sin to stifle any species natural inclination to live life fully. Incidentally, living life fully does not include genocide of one's own or other species. Living in such a manner is a great travesty of nature's directives.

    In 1818 Mary Shelley wrote what I consider the best horror sci-fi novel ever written as a response to the anti-science zeitgeist of the time. We have to be rational and caveman instincts are simply not predisposed to rationality.
    Last edited by Adam Bomm; 12-09-2016 at 04:03 PM.

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    Ross (12-09-2016)

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