He Jiankui announced in November 2018 that he had created the world's first gene-edited babies. Scientists are concerned about unintended side effects that could be passed down to future generations.
NPR tells the exclusive, behind-the-scenes story of the first person with a genetic disorder to be treated in the United States with the revolutionary gene-editing technique CRISPR.
Researchers edited the DNA in bone marrow cells taken from a Mississippi woman with sickle cell disease to produce a treatment that could alleviate the excruciating effects of her inherited illness.
NPR visited the only lab in the world known to be trying to use the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR to modify the DNA in human sperm. If successful, it could be used to prevent genetic disorders.
Victoria Gray, 34, of Forest, Miss., has sickle cell disease. She is the first patient ever to be publicly identified as being involved in a study testing the use of CRISPR for a genetic disease.
A Moscow scientist claims he has a safe way of editing genes in human embryos — a method that could protect resulting babies from being infected with HIV. Approval of the experiment seems unlikely.
Ethical concerns aside, the genetic ingredients for human traits are so complex that editing a few embryonic genes is unlikely to have much effect — or achieve the fantasy of enhancing humans.
The waters of genetic meddling are murky; in a new book, technology futurist Jamie Metzl reviews where we've been in the past as a guideline for where we might be headed.
This could be a crucial year for the powerful gene-editing technique CRISPR as researchers start testing it in patients to treat diseases such as cancer, blindness and sickle cell disease.