美國首次實現「基改人類胚胎」,可望預防先天性疾病

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Doctor is silhouetted as he walks past poster at Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori's private clinic in Rome.  A doctor is silhouetted as he walks past a poster showing images of the development of a human foetus at Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori's private clinic in Rome June 6, 2005. The number of infertile couples seeking help abroad has tripled since lawmakers in Roman Catholic Italy crossed party lines last year to approve one of Europe's most restrictive laws on assisted reproduction. This weekend the standoff will come to a head with a four-part referendum that, if passed, would significantly change the law. The poll has shattered traditional political alliances and elicited emotional appeals from church pulpits. Picture taken June 6, 2005. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico Pictures of the Year 2005   FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE:  ALSO SEE GM1E89P0NOC01. - RTRDROE
Doctor is silhouetted as he walks past poster at Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori's private clinic in Rome. A doctor is silhouetted as he walks past a poster showing images of the development of a human foetus at Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori's private clinic in Rome June 6, 2005. The number of infertile couples seeking help abroad has tripled since lawmakers in Roman Catholic Italy crossed party lines last year to approve one of Europe's most restrictive laws on assisted reproduction. This weekend the standoff will come to a head with a four-part referendum that, if passed, would significantly change the law. The poll has shattered traditional political alliances and elicited emotional appeals from church pulpits. Picture taken June 6, 2005. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico Pictures of the Year 2005 FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE: ALSO SEE GM1E89P0NOC01. - RTRDROE
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Digital Trends 和 MIT Technology Review 報導,上週一群波特蘭的科學家用基因編輯技術 CRISPR 實現美國首次成功嘗試基因改造的人類胚胎。先前曾公諸於世,類似的改造人類胚胎測試都有 3 次,都發生在中國。

這次的實驗特別之處在於,實驗胚胎的數目更多,而且有望透過 DNA 編輯修補基因缺陷,預防先天性疾病。由奧勒岡健康與科學大學的 Shoukhrat Mitalipov 所領導,進行了多個單細胞胚胎的 DNA 編輯。

Mitalipov 是充滿爭議性的人物,他是首位複製人類胚胎幹細胞的科學家,也曾參與三位親代的體外受精研究計畫(取卵子細胞空殼注入他人 DNA,再進行受精。)當美國收緊人類胚胎研究管制的時候,他就轉往中國發展。

當然本次的基改胚胎研究爭議性也不小,不過研究團隊強調所有胚胎都只有發展短短數日,並且「從未有植入子宮的意圖」。而本次研究的主軸則放在探討基因改造人類有哪些可能性,希望能證明現代科學及醫學能夠消除或修復致病的基因。

先前採用 CRISPR 編輯人類胚胎的實驗都不算完全成功,會產生某些 DNA 編輯錯誤而無法讓所有胚胎改變,而 Mitalipov 找到方法避開了這些問題。

不過常見的爭議點之一便是,一但這種技術普及,人們很可能會把基因改造運用在其他用途,或許開了方便之門讓父母可以「訂做」自己的小孩。

儘管爭議重重,距離投入應用也有一段距離,這項研究成果不論如何都是基因領域的一大突破。

 


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