The U.S produces its first genetically modified embryos

07/11/2017 12:02

Before now there had been no known successful attempts at creating a genetically modified human embryo in the US. The recent prosperous effort was lead by a group of scientists from Portland Oregon, in charge was Shoukhrat Mitalipov.

The process consisted of altering the DNA of a large number of single-cell embryos with the gene-changing process CRISPR. It has been observed with a mixture of emotions as researchers from other countries seemed to have completed the disputed process at a more streamline rate. Currently, China has three successful attempts to their name.

At the present time, none of the embryos produced is allowed to live for more than a week. Nonetheless, these successful experiments are revolutionary in what could soon become the first genetically modified humans.

Tony Perry of Bath University carried out a similar experiment when he edited the mouse gene for coat colour. He successfully changed the fur off a litter the should have been brown to white.

There is a worry that this could lead to a phenomenon known as ‘designer babies’ where people can pick and choose the qualities they would like for their child, something you could arguably state is already in effect, considering a handful of people from around the world have actually chosen their baby’s sex. This is an idea strongly disliked by a range of religious organisations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.

Though, it’s hoped that through education on the topic, that this will contribute towards more than shallow gains like being able to choose your baby's eye colour or gender. This practice has a genuine possibility of correcting defective genes that lead to painful inherited diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis.

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