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Genome editing research shows value of embryo donation

Dr Kathy Niakan and her team at the Francis Crick Institute in London have used genome editing to study gene function in human embryos for the first time.

This comes only a year after Dr Niakan was granted a research licence by us to use this pioneering technique.

The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, deepens scientists’ understanding of a key gene involved in the earliest stages of embryo development. The research team used genome editing to turn off this gene in the embryo and compared its development with that of a normal embryo.

The study would not have been possible without those fertility patients who donated their embryos to the research. For more information about embryo research and how to donate embryos to licensed research studies, see our Donating to research page.

More information is available on the Francis Crick Institute website.

Read Sarah's story about donating for research.

Review date: 22 December 2019