Whether or not we should edit the human DNA is one of the most controversial issues of our time. A bitter and sometimes intense debate has broken out on the subject for nearly two decades.
According to the National Public Radio (NPR), Fredrik Lanner developmental biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has publicly stated that he is healthy and gene editing human embryos that could theoretically become a baby.
is very likely that really is not alone in his controversial endeavor.
The news has been planted in recent reports of Chinese researchers edit genes in non-viable human embryos. These are not able to become a person. In one example, a team tried to edit this type of human embryos in order to make them resistant to HIV.
Research all happened in secret and behind closed doors. It is still unclear whether they have also been used viable human embryos. Some researchers have their suspicions though.
On the other hand, Lanner is the first to declare openly and clearly that is taking place editing genes with viable human embryos. An NPR reporter was allowed to see members of his laboratory injected remaining viable human embryos from in vitro fertilization (IVF) with CRISPR / elements Cas9, a powerful editing tool gene has set a field of burning genetics their remarkable abilities.
With its rapid capacity and highly accurate to “cut” the bits out of the genetic code and replace them with new ones, this editing technique gene has the hypothetical to improve human genome capacity, for example, which gives immunity to certain diseases or conditions.
With this in mind, Lanner said he hopes to use CRISPR to discover new treatments for infertility and to find out more about embryonic stem cells, the kind that can grow into almost any cell in the human body.
If we can understand how these early cells are regulated in the real embryo, this knowledge will help us in the future to treat patients with diabetes or Parkinson’s, or different kinds of blindness and other diseases.
Among a plethora of other concerns, critics of such research are concerned that this accident could result in “altered” human embryos is so advanced stages of fetal development. In order to mitigate these concerns, Lanner said his research group would never let embryos is beyond 14 days of development.
A global summit in Washington DC last December made it clear that it is illegal to modify a human embryo that will become a person. However, several research groups are seeking approval to conduct experiments edition of genes in viable human embryos.
The Francis Crick Institute in the UK has recently been approved by the national regulatory authorities to do so, the first endorsement the world has ever seen, as long as the embryos are completed after seven days after fertilization.
The benefits of this type of work are remarkable. In theory, genetic disorders could be “edited out” of developing babies before they are born, saving them from a debilitating lifelong condition.
However, an unfortunate slip CRISPR could cause an unexpected error inadvertently DNA. Ultimately, this could introduce a new brand of disease in the human population. In addition, “designer babies” with changes in the genetic code chosen falls along the same line as eugenesia for some.
Lanner told NPR:
This is not a technology that should be taken lightly. So really, of course, I am against any kind of thoughts that one should use this to design or improve designer babies aesthetic purposes.
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