Deaf Russian Couple May Edit Their Embryo’s DNA to Prevent Deafness

Deaf Russian Couple May Edit Their Embryo’s DNA to Prevent Deafness

Both parents carry genetic mutation.

Yevgenievna and her husband, who is partially deaf, want to have children who will not inherit hearing problems, Science magazine reports.

Yevgenievna has been deaf since birth; her husband could hear until he was 15 years old, and now uses hearing aids. They want to have children who will not inherit hearing problems.

They have a daughter who failed a hearing test at birth. Doctors first believed it was a temporary problem produced by having a caesarean section, but a month later, her parents took her to a specialized hearing clinic. “We were told our daughter had zero hearing,” Yevgenievna told
Science. “I was shocked, and we cried.”

Eventually they learned that the cause of their daughter’s hearing loss was genetic. Tests showed she had the same mutation in both of her copies of a gene called GJB2. The mutation, known as 35delG, is one of the most common genetic causes of hearing loss.

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