UK scientists have been given the go-ahead by the fertility regulator to genetically modify human embryos.
It is the first time a country has considered the DNA-altering technique in embryos and approved it.
The research will take place at the Francis Crick Institute in London and aims to provide a deeper understanding of the earliest moments of human life.
It will be illegal for the scientists to implant the modified embryos into a woman.
But the field is attracting controversy over concerns it is opening the door to designer – or GM – babies.
DNA is the blueprint of life – the instructions for building the human body. Gene editing allows the precise manipulation of DNA.
I -Word Understanding
Embryo – a human or animal in early stages of development before born or hatched
Implant – to place (something e.g. embryo) to a person’s body (by surgery)
Manipulation – to change something in a skillful way for a particular purpose
II – Have Your Say
A. Are you in favor of gene editing? Please give your opinion on these two purposes of gene editing:
Treating disease by modifying genes in adults. Two experimental therapies have been tried to treat leukemia and HIV.
Preventing disease by modifying genes in embryos. Chinese researchers made the first attempt last year to correct blood disorder.
B. With genetic editing technologies available and more soon, creating designer babies who are free from disease and super athletic or smart may finally be around the corner. What is your idea of a perfect designer baby? Do you think the world will become better with designer babies?