British scientists have been granted permission to 'edit' human embryos

The aim to single out the genes that result in miscarriages

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Image: Ben Birchall / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Earlier this week, a group of British scientists were granted permission to 'edit' human embryos.

Dr. Kathy Niakan and her team at the Francis Crick Institute have been given permission by the British government to use techniques called CRISPR and Cas9, both of which are powerfully precise gene editing tools.

The embroys are being supplied by fertilisation clinics, with no intention of ever being brought to term, and they would have otherwise been destroyed.

The tests are taking place solely on embryos within their first week of cell division, hunting down a specific gene that is being linked with early-term pregnancy issues, as well as miscarriages.

Ultimately, the goal is to better understand the very earliest stages of human life and how it works, with that information hopefully being used to reduce miscarriages and infertility.