Medicine

Editing human embryos 'morally permissible'Naija247news

Editing human embryos 'morally permissible'Naija247news

The Nuffield Council of Bioethics, an independent charitable body investigating the ethics of certain biological and medical developments, said in a report that while it does not support overhauling current legislation so that embryo gene editing can be carried out, it does not mean the United Kingdom should fall short of doing so in the future.

"The editor of genes, "Crispr" can be used when working with embryos only in two cases: if it will help save a child from incurable hereditary disease and if it helps to make the marked characteristics of her health", said genetics. However, it urges research into the safety and effectiveness of the approach, its societal impact, and a widespread debate of its implications.

Genome editing is deliberate alterations of targeted DNA sequencing in a living cell, theoretically it could be used to assist reproduction to alter DNA of a human embryo.

It called on the government to act now to support public debate on the issue and ensure a "responsible way forward".

In other words, the report suggests that human genome editing for the objective of genetic improvement, and not only the avoidance of disease, may be morally acceptable, an affirmation that can not help raising the specter of eugenics and designer babies.

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However, Professor Karen Yeung, of Birmingham University, who chaired the panel, said: "We have concluded that the potential use of genome editing to influence the characteristics of future generations is not unacceptable in itself".

Though the ethic body's report does not enlist the particular uses for the DNA adjustment but does say that it should be follow few principles that should be considered ethical.

One of the co-authors, Jackie Leach Scully, professor of social ethics and bioethics at Newcastle University, said that heritable genome editing may one day become an option for parents "to try and secure what they think is the best start in life" for their children.

'Initially this might involve preventing the inheritance of a specific genetic disorder, however if the technology develops we can see that there is potential for it to become an alternative strategy available to parents for achieving a wider range of goals'. This means it shouldn't in any way increase disadvantage, discrimination, and division in society. Heritable genome editing interventions are made to egg, sperm, embryo cells, or their precursors, that edited DNA sequence would then be present in all cells of any future person grown from those cells, passed on from generation to generation.


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