In Kunming China scientists are genetically editing macaque monkey embryos to create genetic variants of interest to study. Since monkeys have many genes in common with humans this work will also accelerate the rate at which we figure out how human genes work.
The Chinese scientists used the fairly new and highly disruptive CRISPR gene editing technique (and that article surveys a number of enhancements to CRISPR that make it more accurate). Since CRISPR makes it much easier to do to do germ line genetic engineering there is a strong possibility that it will eventually be used to do human germ line genetic engineering. Since we all have hundreds (or more?) genetic variations that are each mildly harmful we could create much more highly functional, healthier, and more robust humans if we could edit out all those harmful genetic variants in the genes we pass on to progeny.
The plunging costs of genome sequencing is producing an explosion in the number of genetic variants of interest. Cheap and easy genome editing with CRISPR will make it possible to study interactions of combinations of genetic variants.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2014 May 03 10:14 PM|