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[Perspectives] Kathy Niakan: at the forefront of gene editing in embryos

Kathy Niakan is keen from the outset to keep our conversation about science. Since she was granted a licence this February by the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to edit the genes of human embryos for research purposes, her group at the Francis Crick Institute’s Mill Hill Laboratory in London has been under intense media scrutiny. The HFEA’s decision is the first time a regulatory body has given permission for such work, and it has led to claims that this is a first step towards gene-edited “designer babies”.