Britain has given the go-ahead for scientists to edit genes in human embryos.
In what is sure to be a controversial move, Britain has just OK’d its scientists to start editing the genes of human embryos.
The purpose of gene editing in human embryos is for research, but some worry that the technique will be used to create so-called “designer babies,” according to a Reuters report.
Last year, Chinese scientists created an uproar by announcing that they had genetically modified human embryos, and now the practice will spread to Europe.
Proponents see this as vital new technology that could lead to huge breakthroughs in stopping various ailments and development disorders, and it will be restricted to the first seven days of development for a fertilized human egg, when it is made up of just 250 cells.
Scientists will use technology known as CRISPR-Cas9, which has already been hotly debated worldwide over concerns about how it could be used to genetically modify babies.
Despite the criticisms, Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist from London’s Francis Crick Institute who had been granted a license to carry out the experiements, said according to the report that there are no plans to genetically alter embryos, and that the purpose is to develop an understanding of the development of human embryos which could result in better infertility treatments.
The decision was made by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).