“Rapid progress in genetics is making “designer babies” more likely and society needs to be prepared, leading scientists have told the BBC.
Dr. Tony Perry, a pioneer in cloning, has announced precise DNA editing at the moment of conception in mice.
He said huge advances in the past two years meant “designer babies” were no longer HG Wells territory.
Other leading scientists and bioethicists argue it is time for a serious public debate on the issue.
Designer babies – genetically modified for beauty, intelligence or to be free of disease – have long been a topic of science fiction.
“This is not HG Wells, you can imagine people doing this soon.” Dr .Tony Perry, University of Bath
Dr. Perry, who was part of the teams to clone the first mice and pigs, said the prospect was still fiction, but science was rapidly catching up to make elements of it possible.”
“Claim: Scientists now able to alter human DNA”
(Headline from Drudge Report)
“A breakthrough in genetics – described as “jaw-dropping” by one Nobel scientist – has created intense excitement among DNA experts around the world who believe the discovery will transform their ability to edit the genomes of all living organisms, including humans.
For the first time, scientists are able to engineer any part of the human genome with extreme precision using a revolutionary new technique called Crispr, which has been likened to editing the individual letters on any chosen page of an encyclopedia without creating spelling mistakes. The landmark development means it is now possible to make the most accurate and detailed alterations to any specific position on the DNA of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes without introducing unintended mutations or flaws, scientists said”
“These questions and others need to be answered before mankind goes down a path from which it cannot return.”
Full article is linked below the two quoted paragraphs.)
“This breaks down the definition of model organism,” says Wang, a postdoctoral researcher in Jaenisch’s lab. “So now, even with limited resources, any animal with established embryo manipulation procedures could be the subject of genome engineering. With many of the animals’ genomes that have been sequenced, we could use this technology to establish efficient genetic manipulations in more species, to study the unique biology of each, and to learn more about evolution.”
Thus, Wang, Yang, and Shivalila have used CRISPR/Cas to create mouse models only, but the team is excited broaden its application to other animals.