Others are interested in its potential for correcting genetic diseases.
Scientists in the USA have taken a first step toward genetically modified humans.
The research led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, head of OHSU's Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy has said the whole process involves a technology known as CRISPR that has opened up a new gate in genetic medicine because of its ability to modify genes swiftly and efficiently.
Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice.
Until now, three previous reports of editing human embryos were published by scientists in China.The earlier Chinese publications, although limited in scope, found "CRISPR" caused editing errors and that the desired DNA changes were taken up not by all the cells of an embryo, only some. A bioethical firestorm erupted in 2015 when researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University announced that they had tried to use CRISPR to correct the genes for the blood disease beta-thalassemia in 86 human embryos.
The experiments are a milestone in journey towards the birth of the first genetically modified humans, according to the "MIT Technology Review". Together, the problems suggested that the technique was not advanced enough to safely alter human embryos without unintended or incomplete genetic consequences.
The genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations.
But many are opposed to these types of experiments, including religious, civil society and biotech groups.
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The U.S. intelligence community past year called CRISPR a potential "weapon of mass destruction". A 2017 experiment, also in China, used CRISPR to edit DNA in normal, presumably viable fertilized eggs, or one-cell human embryos. Interestingly, Chinese researchers have found it hard to get the genetic changes in every cell of the embryos that they seek edit.
According to the Technology Review, past efforts by us scientists to use CRISPR have been inconsistent and resulted in "editing errors" that gave weight to arguments the technique "would be an unsafe way to create a person".
"But Mitalipov and his team are said to have convincingly shown that it is possible to avoid both mosaicism and "off-target" effects, as the "CRISPR" errors are known", the report noted.
In theory, the technique could also be used to create "designer" babies with specific desirable qualities, such as eye color or strength, and possibly even greater intelligence, a prospect that has sparked a lively ethical debate in the scientific community and beyond.
In recent days the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created the Safe Genes program in order to better understand how these gene editing technologies work.
"This is the kind of research that the report discussed", University of Wisconsin-Madison bioethicist R. Alta Charo said of the news of Oregon's work.
Now Mitalipov's team has apparently managed to reduce the rate of mosaicism by injecting the CRISPR machinery at an earlier stage, at the same time as the eggs were fertilised with sperm.
That concept is similar to one tested in mice by Tony Perry of Bath University. With gene editing, these so-called "germline" changes are permanent and would be passed down to any offspring.