October 12, 2015
British scientists Fall 2015 have applied for permission to edit the genes of human embryos in a series of experiments aimed at finding out more about the earliest stages of human development. Just months after Chinese scientists caused an international furor by saying they had genetically modified human embryos , a stem cell scientist from London's Francis Crick Institute has asked the British government's fertility regulator for a license to carry out similar experiments. Scientists around the world are currently debating the potential future use of new genetic technology known as CRISPR-Cas9, which allows researchers to edit virtually any gene, including in human embryos. While the technology can enable scientists to find and change or replace genetic defects, critics say it also has the potential to create "designer babies" to order. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been “barred by Congress from funding any federal research” on gene-altering human embryo research.