Archive for September 17th, 2012

Monday Moaning

Mary Shelly may well have been closer than she thought when she wrote Frankenstein’s Monster.

Modifying Human Embryos to Thwart Disease Weighed in U.K.

Should parents concerned about passing on genetic diseases to their children be allowed to swap DNA with a donor’s?

A  U.K.  regulatory agency is posing the question to the public starting today as the government explores whether to allow genetic modification of human embryos to prevent some diseases. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, or HFEA, will report findings to the Department of Health in March, the agency said in a statement today.

The procedure, which isn’t available in the  U.S. , involves transferring healthy nuclear DNA from one fertilized human egg with unhealthy mitochondrial DNA to a donor embryo with disease- free mitochondria. The approach may prevent genetic disorders such as learning disabilities, heart disease and diabetes. Serious forms of mitochondrial disease affect one in every 6,500 children.

“This is uncharted territory,” Lisa Jardine, chairwoman of the HFEA, told reporters in London last week. “Once we have genetic modification, we have to be damn sure that we are happy. It’s about many generations down the line what the consequences might be.”

In the U.K., the procedure, known as mitochondrial replacement, is legal in the laboratory, though the resulting embryos can’t be implanted in women.

Family Dynamics

The consultation will gauge how the public views the treatment ethically, Jardine said. It raises questions about the legal status of women who donate their eggs, as well as how it will affect family dynamics between the child, parents and donor, she said.

Source: Bloomberg Read more

Opinion:

Now I am feeling damned uncomfortable about this.

We have messed with nature for centuries, but nothing like we are currently doing. Some stuff has been good, but other stuff has produced catastrophic results because we basically don’t know what we’re doing.

Just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we have to.

While the idea of ‘genetically correct’ children may be appealing to some, we have absolutely no idea what the consequences down the line will be.

Talk about opening Pandora’s Box.

Monsanto messed with plant genes, now we have plants that we can’t get rid of. What if we create indestructible children? Or monsters of another form.

The whole idea is just plain scary!

When one plays with fire, one will get burned.

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