Just one year after scientists in China made history by modifying the DNA of human embryos, a second team of Chinese researchers has done it again. Using CRISPR/Cas9, the researchers introduced HIV-resistance into the embryos, showcasing the tremendous potential for gene-editing.
In that earlier work, the Chinese scientists modified a gene responsible for a fatal blood disorder, but the embryos were quickly destroyed after the experiment. It was a watershed moment in biotechnology, showcasing the tremendous potential of CRISPR—a powerful gene editing tool—to alter our offspring at the genetic level. Should this technology ever reach the clinical stage, it could be used to eliminate all sorts of genetic diseases, but it could also be used to introduce entirely new capacities.