New UK gene editing study to uncover fresh insights in IVF techniques

1 February 2015

The British government has approved new UK research that will allow gene editing techniques to be applied to human embryos for the first time.

A research application from the Francis Crick Institute has been ratified by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to examine which genes human embryos need to develop successfully.

The work will be led by Dr Kathy Niakan and will look at the first seven days of a fertilised egg's development, during which it grows from a single cell to around 250 cells. This will deliver insights into how a healthy human embryo develops.

This could enhance understanding of embryo development following in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and could provide better clinical treatments for infertility using conventional medical methods.

Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, said: "Dr Niakan's proposed research is important for understanding how a healthy human embryo develops and will enhance our understanding of IVF success rates."

Once ethical approval has been gained, the research programme will begin within the next few months.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

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