Scientists believe a new technique could lead the way to eradicating hereditary diseases,such as cancer and diabetes, in future generations. Researchers have discovered a way to safely remove and replace genetically abnormal parts of an egg, and therefore remove the risk of a hereditary disease being passed from mother to child.
The process has been tested on monkeys and has been successful, and US scientists believe the process is ready for human clinical trials. However, in order to test it on humans the government would need to make changes to the current laws. It's currently illegal to genetically modify an egg under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, however the rules are flexible to change if the government feels it will have a positive impact on health.
This new development comes after revelations of a Manhattan clinic offering British parents the opportunity to choose the sex of their child. Currently in the UK there is a resistance to allowing the manipulation of DNA and embryos for treatments like this, as many believe it is akin to 'playing God'.
This new procedure raises a lot of new questions as, unlike the majority of 'sex selection' cases, it would be for health reasons. Would there still be resistance if we could remove the threat of certain diseases? Relaxing the laws may also lead to the advancement of other clinical trials which might not have the same positive impact on health, and could be manipulated by those that do not have the public best interests at heart. It also seems to be taking a step closer to 'designer babies' which seems to be a bit of a depressing direction to take.
What do you think about this new technique? Would you consider it if it was available?