Scientists remove mutation from genes of human embryo

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US scientists have succeeded in altering the genes of a human embryo to correct a disease-causing mutation, making it possible to prevent the defect from being passed on to future generations.

The milestone, published this week in the journal Nature, was confirmed last week by Oregon Health and Science University, which collaborated with the Salk Institute and Korea's Institute for Basic Science to use a technique known as CRISPR-Cas9 to correct a genetic mutation for a heart condition.

Until now, published studies using the technique had been done in China with mixed results.

CRISPR-Cas9 works as a type of molecular scissors that can selectively trim away unwanted parts of the genome, and replace them with new stretches of DNA. - REUTERS