Sci­en­tists make break­through on fight­ing HIV

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE -

In a ma­jor break­through that has the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the fight against HIV/AIDS, Chi­nese sci­en­tists re­cently mod­i­fied a gene in em­bryos to make hu­mans im­mune to the HIV virus.

Re­searchers from the Guangzhou Med­i­cal Univer­sity used a gene edit­ing tech­nique named CRISPR/ Cas to re­place the CCR5 gene in 26 hu­man em­bryos with an HIV-re­sis­tant mu­ta­tion. Only four em­bryos were suc­cess­fully edited, while the other 22 cases failed to pro­duce the de­sired re­sults.

The CRISPR/ Cas9 gene edit­ing tech­nique, bet­ter known as the “molec­u­lar Swiss army knife”, is a tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by US sci­en­tist Jen­nifer Doudna and French sci­en­tist Em­manuelle Char­p­en­tier in 2012.

“In this study, we demon­strated that the HIV-re­sis­tant mu­ta­tion could be in­tro­duced into early hu­man em­bryos through the CRISPR sys­tem,” said Fan Yong, a re­searcher of the Guangzhou Med­i­cal Univer­sity and an author of the pa­per.

The research was re­ported in the Jour­nal of As­sisted Re­pro­duc­tion and Ge­net­ics.

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