Last week, the HFEA, British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, received a request from a scientist wishing to genetically handle human embryos for research purposes. “To our knowledge, this is the first request,”declared the HFEA spokesperson.
The request came from scientists Francis Crick at the London Institute. His research is focused on “studying genes involved during the development of the cells that will form the placenta”in an attempt to have a better understanding of the causes of miscarriage. To this end, he used the CRISPR-Cas9 tool(cf. Gènéthique du 1er avril 2015), which is controversial in conjunction with embryos(cf. Gènéthique des 10 et 15 septembre 2015).
The next HFEA meetings are scheduled to take place “in November and January”. Francis Crick’s request will be discussed during one of these meetings.
Research into human embryos is currently authorised in the United Kingdom. However, the genetic modification of human embryos is prohibited “for treatment purposes”. (It is feasible “provided, amongst other things, that the embryos are destroyed after two weeks at most”.)
La presse.ca (18/09/2015) – BBC (18/09/2015)