Paper Review: Crispening CRISPR


Tang, Lichun et al. 2017
CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human zygotes using Cas9 protein


Previous works using human tripronuclear zygotes suggested that the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas9 system could be a tool in correcting disease-causing mutations. However, whether this system was applicable in normal human (dual pronuclear, 2PN) zygotes was unclear. Here we demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9 is also effective as a gene-editing tool in human 2PN zygotes. By injection of Cas9 protein complexed with the appropriate sgRNAs and homology donors into one-cell human embryos, we demonstrated efficient homologous recombination-mediated correction of point mutations in HBB and G6PD. However, our results also reveal limitations of this correction procedure and highlight the need for further research.

Gwern Branwen’s comments:

Even nicer: another human-embryo CRISPR paper. Some old 2015 work – results: no off-target mutations and efficiencies of 20/50/100% for various edits. (As I predicted, the older papers, Liang et al 2015 / Kang et al 2016 / Komor et al 2016, were not state of the art and would be improved on considerably.)

Back in February 2015, qualia researcher Mike Johnson predicted that dedicated billionaire with scant regard for legalistic regulations could start genetically “spellchecking” their offspring within 5-7 years.

But if anything, he might have overestimated the timeframe.


Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Yevardian says


  2. Drapetomaniac says

    I’m for directed evolution. It can’t be any worse than the current evolutionarily regressive path man is on.

    We are the common ancestor-to-be of augmented man and machine intelligence.

    Exciting times, for sure.

  3. Abelard Lindsey says

    Many of the “right” blogs on the internet is full of warnings about dysgenics and the coming idiocracy. Yet, many of those same blogs feature commentary that is actually opposed to using bio-engineering to overcome that dysgenics and coming idiocracy. Should not negative attitudes towards bio-engineering on the part of “right” thinking people also be considered an example of that dysgenics and idiocracy?

  4. I have done what I could to promote this viewpoint amongst the Alt Right, both online and in person, however I suppose it is ultimately up to the Alt Right themselves what to do about it.

    Some are in favor – generally the younger and higher IQ sorts, and some are aghast – generally the more religious/traditionalist wing.

    That said, I am not sure that the Progressive Left is all that more, or at all, … progressive on these issues. In my experience, they tend to have a very negative view of bioengineering, since they do in fact view it as being similar to eugenics and something which will magnify the gap between the haves and the have nots, the privileged and the unprivileged. This goes against their leveling philosophy.

    In my experience, the most technophilic political faction are libertarians.