Monday, March 10, 2014

US considers research into three-parent babies

Technique said to prevent genetic disease
Pope Francis blesses a baby as he visits St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
on the outskirts of Rome Feb. 16. (Photo: Paul Haring / CNS)
Several weeks ago, a child in Vancouver became the first in BC to have three parents on her birth certificate. But unlike that situation, where only two of her parents are biological, the US is evaluating a scenario where a baby would be born with the genes of three parents.

The Catholic News Service reports:
Fertilization techniques that would create babies from the DNA of three or four people to prevent the transmission of inheritable genetic diseases are being questioned by ethicists and others who say the procedures fail basic ethical and moral standards.

Chief among the concerns is that the techniques, which involve replacing a mother's mitochondria with that of an egg donor, would pass on genetic alterations with unknown implications for future generations.

The techniques are controversial because they involve altering an embryo's DNA, leading to questions about whether the government should approve the creation of, in effect, genetically modified humans.
This research has support in Britain, where the government has launched a public consultation running now until May 21.

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