Human gene editing technique approved In Britain
Britain has given its technical approval to a controversial human gene editing experiment. Many ethicists have warned about this being a step ahead in the direction of producing designer babies. To achieve such gene editing using lentivirus vectors, you would need to get a specialistic company and have a fair wad of cash. Take a look at the details of the news.
1 The Controversial Technique!
The scientific community though does not agree with this assumption and pointed out that they would not be creating designer babies and these modified embryos will get destroyed in seven days. The goal is to create a better understanding on human development and this experiment will help improve treatments in case of fertility cases. Miscarriages too will be prevented if this research reaches a conclusive end.
Interestingly, this decision by Britain’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority is remarkable in the sense that it is for the first time that such a technique of human gene editing has been approved in United Kingdom.
Many other countries like the U.S do not have such strict regulations and no outright ban exists on human gene editing. However, in these countries, the federal fund is not allowed for any kind of embryo modification.
2 Gene Editing Technique
Human gene editing is basically a biological cut and paste technique and involves deletion, replacement and repair of bits of DNA inside the living cells. This technique in coming days could lead to treatment of HIV and inherited disorders as sickle cell anemia and muscular dystrophy.
Embryo and stem cell specialist at London’s New Francis Crick Institute, Kathy Niakan along with the team of researchers will be using human gene editing technique to study the growth of embryo during its first month.
Paul Nurse, the director of the institute added that the research is likely to enhance the understanding on IVF success rates and is likely to dwell deep into early stages of human development.
The noticeable fact about this research is that none of these embryos will be transferred into women. These will be allowed to develop until they reach a count of 250 and will be destroyed thereafter.
3 Inspirational Research for the Future
Few other methods of human gene editing are in use but researchers across the globe have lauded this approach being developed. The technique is known as CRISPR-Cas9 and is a faster and cheaper method which researchers from across the world would want to replicate.
Voices of discontent too have started rising and critics point out that fiddling with the genetic code can lead to production of designer babies in future. Increasing number of parents would want babies who are free from any kind of inherited diseases and would be tall, smart and stronger.
4 Perspective from Law
Laws and guidelines across the world vary widely when it comes to agreeing on the fact that which kind of research on embryos is within the preambles of law. This is an important concern as any experiment with the genes could have a detrimental effect on future of coming generations.
Nations like India, China and Ireland do not allow gene editing in any form while Germany and some other European countries allow limited research on the topic.
The technique in this case, CRISPR-Cas9 has been partly developed in United States after due experimentation on animals and human cells in laboratory conditions.
Scientists and researchers from across the world gathered in Washington last year during an international conference on this issue. They did agree on the point that attempts to study and experiment on the embryo during its early stages should be allowed in laboratory conditions. The technique however was nowhere in the reach to be used in case of pregnant women, the scientists pointed out.
Infact, last year Britain did allow scientists to produce babies from DNA of three people. This was done to prevent these babies from inheriting fatal disease conditions from their mothers.
Therefore, it did not come as a surprise to many when Britain allowed Human gene editing for research purpose.