Scientists are one step closer to eradicating inherited diseases by correcting faulty genes 

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SCIENTISTS are a step closer to eradicating inherited disease after correcting a faulty gene in human embryos.

They used new technique “chemical surgery” to cut out a single mutated letter of DNA.

 A new technique called 'chemical surgery' can cut out a single mutated letter of DNA

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A new technique called ‘chemical surgery’ can cut out a single mutated letter of DNA

Replacing it with the correct one fixed the fault that causes the blood disorder beta-thalassemia.

There are three billion letters in the human genetic code and a single error causes two-thirds of hereditary diseases.

Experts hope the Chinese team’s approach can be refined to treat them.

In the study, published in the journal Protein and Cell, scientists scanned the embryos to find the lone mutation.

They then used a gene editing tool to replace it.

British experts hailed the work as “highly significant” but warned real-world use was far off.

 A single error causes two-thirds of hereditary diseases

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A single error causes two-thirds of hereditary diseases

Dr Junjiu Huang, of Sun Yat-sen University, said: “We are the first to demonstrate the feasibility of curing human genetic ­disease by base editor system (chemical surgery).” No embryos were used to produce babies.

The findings follow a US study which used gene editing technique Crispr to correct larger sections of faulty DNA in human embryos.

 There are three billion letters in the human genetic code

Alamy
There are three billion letters in the human genetic code

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