Health Care

UK Scientists Use CRISPR to Study Gene Function in Human Embryos

UK Scientists Use CRISPR to Study Gene Function in Human Embryos

The latest work switches the spotlight to the basic biological sequence that plays out as a fertilised egg turns into a ball of cells, known as a blastocyst, during the first seven days of development.

Kathy Niakan and his team said the United Kingdom has a competitive edge in human embryology because the country has a supportive regulatory framework, as well as public and charitable agencies prepared to fund research in the field.

The team used genome editing techniques to stop a key gene from producing a protein called OCT4, which normally becomes active in the first few days of human embryo development. The researchers planned to focus first on OCT4, known as a marker for pluripotent stem cells-cells that can become all tissues in the body.

But, as the researchers report in Nature, the blastocyst is incapable of fully forming without OCT4, and essentially implodes. Researchers must apply for a license to conduct research, and embryos used for research can not develop for longer than 14 days after fertilization and can not be implanted into a woman's womb.

Atletico Madrid reach Diego Costa agreement with Chelsea
Striker Diego Costa is set to return to Atletico Madrid from Chelsea after the two clubs agreed a fee reported to be £58million. The club can sign new players but they can't play until the end of the ban. "We want Diego Costa ", Cerezo admitted.

Dr Kathy Niakan from the Francis Crick Institute, who led the research, adds: "One way to find out what a gene does in the developing embryo is to see what happens when it isn't working". The goal, she said, is to eventually identify which key genes human embryos need to develop successfully into full-grown babies.

Using 41 human embryos donated by couples with a surplus after IVF treatment, the scientists applied the gene-editing tool Crispr/Cas9 to make precise cuts in DNA and deactivate a gene called OCT4, which was believed to be important in the earliest stages of development.

An edited embryo without OCT4 on the fifth day of development - it does not form a proper blastocyst. Niakan thinks that if scientists could establish the main genes needed for embryos to grow properly, pregnancy failure could be better understood and IVF treatments improved.

In 2015 Chinese scientists led by Dr Junjiu Huang shocked the world by announcing they had carried out the first attempt to tackle an inherited disease by gene-editing human embryos.

Crude Oil Firms Above $50
That's less than half the projected 3.9 million-barrel increase the government is forecast to report Wednesday. With OPEC signaling its determination to curb supplies, oil prices have risen sharply over the past week.

Future experiments could use CRISPR to investigate the role of other genes.

"We were surprised to see just how crucial this gene is for human embryo development, but we need to continue our work to confirm its role", said Norah Fogarty of the Francis Crick Institute, first author of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The scientists spent more than a year perfecting their technique with mice and human stem cells before starting work on human embryos.

Those advances are still many years away, says Niakan.

Android One in the USA: Moto X4 with Project Fi
The rear dual camera setup compromises of a 12-Megapixel sensor+8-Megapixel ultra-wide angle lens with 120-degree field of view. However, despite that, the Moto X4 does not offer Android Oreo out-of-the-box and instead, runs on Android 7.1.

"One in every four couples has been affected by infertility and, to address the issue, we have to understand the biology of the earliest stages of human development", commented Dr. Dusko Ilic, reader in stem cell science at King's College London, who also was not part of the research. Lower than normal OCT4 activity may explain why embryos sometimes fail and lead to miscarriages. The differences between mouse and human embryos were striking, says Amy Ralston, a developmental biologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing who has studied the protein in mice. The team say that this shows experiments on human embryos will provide new understanding which would be unavailable if they were only to do research on mice.