The first genetically modified human embryos could be created in Great Britain within a matter of weeks. Scientists at the Crick Institute in London submitted a request in September 2015. (cf. La Grande Bretagne autorisera-t-elle la manipulation génétique d’embryons ?).
Today, the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), is meeting to discuss whether a possible licence should be granted for the genomes of “excess” embryos conceived during IVF to be edited and used for research purposes. Authorisation should be validated during January 2016.
If the proposal put forward by the Francis Crick Institute is approved, the transgenic embryo created could not live beyond fourteen days or be implanted in utero. However, scientists hope that their work will result in the birth of the first genetically modified baby.
For David King, Director of the Human Genetic Alert group, which opposes any form of genome editing, it is a case of “the first step on the path towards the scientific legalisation of genetically modified babies”.
The Independent (13/01/2016) – Science (13/01/2016)