CRISPR veterinary (genome editing) to attempt to halt a serious porcine disease

CRISPR veterinary applied to prevent the spread of a serious swine disease.  One of the worst nightmares for any pig farmer is to have a herd infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). Having emerged in the 1980s, the syndrome now affects these...

Xenobiology and environment

Synthetic biology and xenobiology could be great tools for improving the environment, but there must be a balance in which the pursuit of benefits for humans is combined with respect for nature and its laws. On 15th May 2015, Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato si, in...

Genome editing. First clinical trial using the CRISPR technique authorised in humans

If there is one technique on which biomedicine has pinned its hopes, it is CRISPR, a genome editing technology that simplifies and facilitates the changes to be made in the genome (read our ethical opinion HERE) . This sort of genetic “cut and paste” has just received...

Mother to child transmission. A novel prevention technique of hereditary mitochondrial disease

‘The technique remains nevertheless an intervention on the germ line’ This possible new technique to prevent mitochondrial disease transmission , while it has major advantages, remains nevertheless an intervention on the germ line, and therefore should be carefully...

Human gene editing controversy. Summit concludes with divergent opinions

Despite differences, nearly everyone at the meeting agreed that efforts to use gene editing after birth to correct defects in non-reproductive cells should continue. When nearly 500 scientists, ethicists, legal experts and advocacy groups from more than 20 countries came together...

Synthetic Biology. Engineering and biology combined to create a minimal genome

Can these discoveries produce “synthetic life”? On 24th March this year, an article by Craig Venter and his team was published in Science (see HERE), in which they described how they obtained an organism with the smallest genome of any known form of cell life....

Producing human organs in animal chimeras raises objective medical and ethical problems

The major medical and social problems in organ transplantation owing to the increasing shortage of donor organs is well known. Solutions must therefore be sought in the fairly near future that can resolve these issues. One of these is the production of animal chimeras in which...

Genome editing CRISPR-Cas9 technique. Biomedical, ecological and ethical considerations

The real possibility of using this technique for genetic modification of the human germ line, which could have serious and unpredictable consequences in the individuals treated and their offspring; it could also definitively lead to the introduction of transhumanism in society....

Human embryo and its mother. Their dialogue extends to the genomic area

A key issue in the Masters in Bioethics taught at our Catholic University is the “biological status of the human embryo”, because demonstrating that the early human embryo (from the blastocyst phase) is a biological being of our species and not a uniform cluster of...

New steps towards the production of human cell lines

In 2013, Mitalipov’s group published an impressive study (Cell 153; 1228-1238, 2013) in which they reported the production of human blastocysts, and how embryonic human cell lines could be derived from them, and from these, cells of various tissues. Regardless of the ethical...