Oregon scientists do first human gene embryo editing in US

A baby rests in an infant warmer just after the birth at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, La., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

UNDATED (AP) — For the first time in the United States, scientists have edited the genes of human embryos, a controversial step toward someday helping babies avoid inherited diseases.

According to MIT Technology Review, the experiment was just an exercise in science — the embryos were not allowed to develop for more than a few days and were never intended to be implanted into a womb. The publication first reported the news on Wednesday.

Officials at Oregon Health & Science University confirmed that the work took place there and said results would be published in a journal soon.

The scientists reportedly used a technique called CRISPR, which allows sections of DNA to be altered or replaced. The only previous work like this has been reported in China.