Children to order soon? Ethics Council in the UK authorized the genetic engineering of human embryos
Improved children can become real after an influential group of scientists have concluded that it is “morally acceptable” to genetically modify human embryos.
In a new report that opens the door to changing the law, Nuffield Council on Bioethics said that DNA editing could be an option for parents who want to "influence the genetic characteristics of their child."
Although it will be primarily used in the treatment of genetic diseases or predispositions for cancer and dementia, experts said that they do not exclude cosmetic use, such as increasing growth or changing the color of the eyes or hair, if this makes the child more successful.
In the past, advice gave green light to controversial procedures, such as children with three parents, in which the “second mother's” DNA is used to replace a malfunctioning code in the cell's mitochondria.
After extensive consultations and voting in Parliament, the law was changed to allow the procedure, and the first children with the DNA of three people will be born at the end of this or in early 2019.
Currently, scientists are allowed to genetically modify human embryos for 14 days for research purposes, after which they need to be destroyed, and they are prohibited from introducing them into the uterus.
But the Nuffield Council said the change could be legal if the rules are followed.
Professor Karen Yong, Chairman of the Genome Editing and Human Reproduction Working Group: “In the future, in the process of artificially reproducing people, there is the potential to introduce inherited changes to the genomes as a means of providing the desired characteristics of their children.”
“Initially, this may be due to the prevention of inheritance of a genetic disorder. However, if technology develops, it has considerable potential to become an alternative strategy available to parents in achieving a wider range of goals. "
" Despite the ambiguity as to what genome editing can do or how widely its use can spread, we concluded that the potential use of genome editing in order to influence the characteristics of the future generations in itself is not acceptable. "
on the question of whether to use genetic editing for Thu children would have been high, with blond hair and blue eyes in order to increase their chances of success in life, Professor Jong added: "We do not exclude it."
The Council of Nuffield said that all genetic changes in embryos should be strictly regulated by the Human Fertility and Embryology Department (HFEA) and licensed on an individual basis, and should be conducted to study side effects.
They also called for further research on genetic editing techniques such as CRISPR, which acts as molecular scissors, cutting out bad DNA and replacing it with good code. The first trials of gene therapy aimed at HIV, cancer and sickle cell anemia will be held in Europe and the United States this year.
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