The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has agreed that the Francis Crick Institute should use a new gene-editing technique to measure the development of human embryos within the first one to seven days of life.
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A group leader at the Crick institute, Dr. Kathy Niakan, submitted the research application to HFEA for approval and would be leading the research team to fully comprehend particular genes needed by human embryos to develop properly.
This study is only for research purposes only, and it examines a human egg within the first seven days of fertilization to research actual development from a single cell that soon divides to about 250 cells within this seven days period.
This study will be essential to understanding how a fertilized human egg develops into an embryo that grows into a fetus. This understanding could be applied to fertility treatments where IVF procedures are carried out among other methods of embryo development.
"I am delighted that the HFEA has approved Dr. Niakan's application,” said Paul Nurse, a director at Crick. “Dr. Niakan's proposed research is important for understanding how a healthy human embryo develops and will enhance our understanding of IVF success rates, by looking at the very earliest stage of human development - one to seven days."
HFEA regulations prescribe that donated embryos could only be applied to research purposes and never for treatments; and the embryos must be given by patients who understand what the donated embryos will be used for as part of excess in their IVF treatment.
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This research project will commence in a few months from now after ethical approval has been granted for the genome editing study.