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Fears of ‘designer babies’ are surfacing again

| | June 15, 2018

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

“What we’re seeing is a fast slide down a very slippery slope toward designer babies,” warned Marcy Darnovsky.

What has alarmed Darnovsky, a left-wing bioconservative from the Center for Genetics and Society? The fact that specialists at the Nadiya fertility clinic in Ukraine have used pronuclear transfer to help some parents to give birth to healthy babies.

Pronuclear transfer is used in cases where the mitochondria in a woman’s eggs are mutated in some way that would produce disease in her children or cause her infertility. The procedure involves removing the two pronuclei, or unfused nuclei, of the egg and sperm from a day-old embryo and transfering them into an enucleated donor egg containing healthy mitochondria.

Since mitochondrial DNA is inherited from a baby’s mother, female children born using this technique will pass along the healthy donor mitochondria to their progeny. Bioconservatives like Darnovsky decry this as germ-line genetic engineering.

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Since 2015, Congress has included provisions in its annual federal appropriations laws that prohibit the FDA from accepting applications for clinical research using [mitochondrial replacement therapies].

But what about Darnovsky’s claim that MRT is the beginning of a fast slide down a very slippery slope toward designer babies? Bring it on. Parents using modern biotechnology to endow their children with longer, healthier, smarter, and perhaps even happier lives? It’s hard to see any ethical problem with that.

Read full, original post: Freaking Out Over ‘Designer Babies,’ Again

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