Monday, February 01, 2016

UK's Frankenstein: Designer Babies OK'd by Gov't

Today, the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced it authorized a private research firm to use abandoned babies, a.k.a. "leftover" embryos, to perform human genetic code editing.  Bioethicists have warned for years that such research will certainly lead to so-called "designer babies."
"This is the first step on a path that scientists have carefully mapped out towards the legalization of (genetically modified) babies."
-- David King, Human Genetics Alert
For background, read Secret Designer Babies via Gene-editing Science and also read Unborn Must Die so Others Can Live, Scientists Say

UPDATE 2/4/16: 3-Parent Babies ARE Ethical, Experts Tell President Obama's FDA

Also read Scientists Create Artificial Human Eggs and Sperm

And read Genetic Scientists Worshiped as Creators of Life

-- From "Britain Okays Gene Editing Experiment on Human Embryos" by The Associated Press 2/1/16

Scientists say gene-editing techniques could one day lead to treatments for conditions like HIV, which causes AIDS, and inherited diseases like muscular dystrophy and sickle cell disease.

Peter Braude, an emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology at King's College London, said the mechanisms being investigated by [Dr. Kathy] Niakan and colleagues "are crucial in ensuring healthy, normal development and implantation" and could help doctors understand how to improve in vitro fertilization rates and prevent miscarriages.

The gene-editing technique was developed partly in the U.S. and scientists there have experimented with the method in animals and in human cells in the laboratory. Gene editing has not been used for any kinds of patient therapies yet.

Around the world, laws and guidelines vary widely about what kind of research is allowed on embryos, since it could change the genes of future generations. In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health cannot fund research on human embryos but private funding is allowed.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Britain gives scientists permission to genetically modify human embryos" by Rachel Feltman, Washington Post 2/1/16

The news comes less than a year after the first reports of human-gene editing — published by Chinese scientists in the journal Protein and Cell — using the fantastic and at times troubling technology known as CRISPR. By harnessing an ancient defense mechanism built into bacteria, CRISPR allows scientists to target, delete and replace specific genes. It has been used extensively in other organisms, but research in humans has been slow.

The Chinese experiments reported last year were largely unsuccessful. Few of the embryos in the experiment were successfully modified, and even fewer had the changes that scientists intended to make. None of the embryos were gestated, and the authors of the study readily admitted that their error rate was too high for use on viable embryos.

. . . Britain now has become the first country to approve the use of public funding for such research. In the United States, labs have to find private funding for any research that creates or destroys human embryos, and some lawmakers seek to ban it altogether. Even in China, where the first "successful" editing occurred, the guidelines are murky.

The University of Kent's Darren Griffin called the [HFEA] ruling "a triumph for common sense" in a statement, and Sarah Norcross, director of Progress Educational Trust, lauded the decision as "a victory for level-headed regulation over moral panic."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "UK scientists given go-ahead to genetically modify human embryos" by Sheena McKenzie, for CNN 2/1/16

Scientists will be focusing on the first seven days of a fertilized egg's growth. In these early days, a fertilized egg evolves from a single cell to around 250 cells.

The research, which will be led by Dr. Kathy Niakan, will take place at the Francis Crick Institute in London and has been hailed as a "triumph for common sense" by leading figures of the British science community.

However, the research has also raised concerns that it could pave the way for "designer babies" -- going beyond health improvements and modifying everything from a child's eye color to intelligence.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "British scientists granted permission to genetically modify human embryos" by Sarah Knapton, Science Editor, UK Telegraph 2/1/16

Currently around 50 per cent of fertilised eggs do not develop properly and experts believe that faulty genetic code could be responsible.

If scientists knew which genes were crucial for healthy cell division, then they could screen out embryos where their DNA was not working properly, potentially preventing miscarriages and aiding fertility.

The team at Francis Crick are already in talks with fertility clinics across the country to use their spare embryos.

Dr Calum MacKellar, Director of Research of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics said: “Allowing the gene editing of embryos opens the road to genetically modifying all the descendants of a person as well as full blown eugenics which was condemned by all civilised societies after the Second World War.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Britain grants first licence for genetic modification of embryos" posted at Medical Xpress 2/1/16

[Dr. Kathy] Niakan has said she is planning to modify the embryos using a technique known as CRISPR-Cas9, which allows scientists to insert, remove and correct DNA within a cell.

The embryos will not become children as they must be destroyed within 14 days and can only be used for basic research.

She plans to find the genes at play in the first few days of fertilisation when an embryo develops a coating of cells that later become the placenta.

The embryos to be used in the research are ones that would have been destroyed, donated by couples receiving In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment who do not need them.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "British researchers get green light to genetically modify human embryos" by Haroon Siddique, UK Guardian 2/1/16

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, group leader at the Francis Crick Institute . . . said it would also provide invaluable information about the accuracy and efficiency of the technique, helping to inform the debate about whether genome editing could be used in future to correct faulty genes that cause devastating diseases.

That prospect remains a long way off but is already a subject of concern. There are also fears that changes to an embryo’s DNA could have unknown harmful consequences throughout a person’s body and be passed on down the generations.

Last year, leading UK funders called for a national debate on whether editing human embryos could ever be justified in the clinic. Some fear that a public backlash could derail less controversial uses of genome editing, which could lead to radical new treatments for disease.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pro-life charity criticises decision to allow UK scientists to genetically modify human embryos" by Staff Reporter, Catholic Herald 2/1/16

After the announcement Anne Scanlan, the education director of Life, said . . . “[HFEA] has ignored the warnings of over a hundred scientists worldwide and given permission for a procedure, which could have damaging far-reaching implications for human beings. We do not know what long term side effects the tampering with some strands of DNA could have on other strands. However once genetic changes have been made they will be irreversible and handed down to future generations.”

Miss Scanlan added: “We are also concerned that such controversial intervention in the human germline opens up the very real possibility of eugenics where the existence of human beings becomes conditional on the possession of certain physical characteristics.

“Whilst we note the HFEA restriction on the implantation of genetically modified embryos, it is sending the wrong signals by allowing scientists the ability to develop and possibly perfect the technology here in the UK. To mitigate any advancement on the potentially dangerous work being undertaken by these British scientists, we believe that an international ban on human DNA editing is urgently needed to protect the future of the human species.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read President Obama's Food and Drug Administration considers lab science that 'Creates' Designer Baby with 3 Biological Parents

And read IVF Eliminating Fatherhood via Virgin Births