CRISPR/Cas9 Human Embryo Genome Editing for the Study of Genes Related to Early Embryo Development

June 18, 2021
Dr. Anna Veiga is leading the project CRISPR/Cas9 human embryo genome editing (GE) for the study of genes related to early embryo development. This project aims at the optimization of the CRISPR/Cas9 methodology in human zygotes, a methodology described in a limited number of recent articles and that presents technical problems that hinder its use. Furthermore, the evaluation of embryo development to assess the role of the specific genes is being performed by morphokinetic monitoring through Time-lapse methodology. This is a pioneering project in Spain that requires experience in areas such as assisted reproduction and genome editing techniques.This project obtained authorization from the Health Department of the Generalitat of Catalonia after the approval from the Comision Nacional de Reproducción Humana Asistida. Cellular and molecular biologists from the Stem Cell Bank and the PCMR-C participate in this project, who carry out the genomic editing and the molecular and immunocytochemical analyzes of the edited embryos. The project also has the participation of clinical embryologists with extensive experience in embryonic culture and preimplantation genetic screening techniques from Dexeus Mujer. They assess the efficiency and safety of genomic editing by analyzing the characteristics and in vitro developmental capacity of human embryos
CRISPR/Cas9 technique is used to replicate previously reported results as a GE tool in human zygotes to study the role of OCT4. The function in the development of the human embryo of other early expressed genes (RBBP6, ZSCAN4 and H2AFZ) will be assessed. The expected results will be very important for the standardization of the CRISPR/Cas9 technique in human embryos and will provide relevant data regarding the expression of genes that determine the development of embryos with potential applications in in vitro fertilization (IVF) programs and in the study of human infertility.