The BBC reports that Chinese researchers successfully edited a single error in the DNA of human embryos to remove the disease beta-thalassemia. The researchers used base editing, a technique more efficient than CRISPR which yields less unwanted side-effects. The embryos were not implanted.
Junjiu Huang, one of the researchers, told the BBC News website: "We are the first to demonstrate the feasibility of curing genetic disease in human embryos by base editor system."
He said their study opens new avenues for treating patients and preventing babies being born with beta-thalassemia, "and even other inherited diseases".
The experiments were performed in tissues taken from a patient with the blood disorder and in human embryos made through cloning.
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