A Russian biologist has begun gene editing donated eggs from women with normal hearing in an effort to understand how deaf women with a genetic mutation could potentially give birth to children without the mutation, according to an article in Nature. Denis Rebrikov’s current research will look at potential “off-target” mutations which can occur as a result of CRISR–Cas9 editing.
In September, N+1 reported that a deaf couple was in the process of obtaining eggs to create a gene-edited baby, though it appears those plans are on halt for the moment.
According to Nature, Rebrikov plans to publish the results of his experiments, which will include tests to see whether CRISPR can repair GJB2, a gene linked to deafness.
Some scientists and ethicists have questioned the necessity of the procedure to treat what is a non life-threatening condition.
“The project is recklessly opportunistic, clearly unethical, and damages the credibility of a technology that is intended to help, not harm,” Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer of the CRISPR gene-editing tool and a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, was quoted in the article as saying.
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