It’s one of the landmarks in the medical science and scientists is now finally able to modify the human DNA in the embryos (before birth) to prevent passage of genetic diseases from parents to children.
A groundbreaking project, which was undertaken by scientists to edit the DNA in unborn children is now expected to deliver success and recently, scientists demonstrated this controversial procedure where they modified the human embryos for removing the genetic mutations which cause heart failure in the otherwise healthy children.
While no research across the globe has yet created the babies from the modified embryos, and in fact, this procedure is even illegal in many countries, but, this work is a representation of the scientific excellence and symbolizes a milestone in the medical science.
Scientists Corrected A Diseased DNA To Prevent An Inherited Heart Disease From Passing On
It has happened for the first time that the human embryos have undergone the genome editing outside China, where researchers and scientists performed some studies to find out that whether this approach can prevent the inherited diseases from getting passed on from parents to children, or from one generation to another.
The entire work focused on one of the inherited forms of heart disease, but scientists believe that we can leverage the same approach can be made to work for other health conditions as well caused by the single gene mutations such as certain types of breast cancers and cystic fibrosis.
As per Paula Amato, a renowned fertility scientist indulged in the aforementioned study being conducted at Oregon Health and Science University, if this embryo gene correction method is proven safe to use, then, it can potentially be used for preventing the transmission of genetic diseases for the future generations.
Crispr-Cas9 A Powerful Gene Editing Tool
Crispr-Cas9 is a powerful gene editing tool which was used by the scientists for fixing the mutations in the human embryos, which were developed from the sperm of a man who inherited HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), which is a heart condition.
It results in thickening of the muscular walls of the heart, and often affects 1 or 2 people in 1000 people. It is also one of the potent causes of sudden cardiac arrest in the young people.
The Crispr-Cas9 allows the scientists to target and edit the genome pieces precisely, and it is a type of guide molecule made from the RNA. With the help of this molecule, it has become possible to target a particular site of interest on the double helix of DNA. To correct the embryos, this RNA molecule is attached to Cas9, which is a bacterial enzyme that works as a pair of the molecule scissors for cutting the DNA exactly where it is required. With this, the scientists are capable of cutting, pasting and deleting single letters from the genome code.
The editing of human DNA is going to prove as one of the historical steps ever taken by medical science and it can help the children “not acquire” the disease carrying genes for leading a healthy life.