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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Charlie Gard Post-Mortem: Could He Have Been Saved?

August 5, 2017

Tags: Charlie Gard

Charlie Gard would have turned one year old last week.

Two days before the British infant died of a mitochondrial disease on July 28, a short article in MIT Technology Review teased that Shoukhrat Mtalipov and his team at Oregon Health & Science University and colleagues had used CRISPR-Cas9 to replace a mutation in human embryos, a titillating heads-up that didn’t actually name the gene or disease.

A week later, Nature published details of what the researchers call gene correction, not editing, because it uses natural DNA repair. I covered the news conference, with a bit of perspective, for Genetic Literacy Project and Medscape Medical News.

Might gene editing enable Charlie’s parents, who might themselves develop mild symptoms as they age, to have another child free of the family’s disease? Could anything have saved the baby? (more…)

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