World’s first GM babies born

neonati-parole[1]By: MICHAEL HANLON

The world’s first geneticallymodified humans have been created.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments  in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain  genes from three ‘parents’.

TLB Note: This article is based on research from this 2001 report (PDF) We still feel the information is worth noting.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one  experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of  St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a  female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an  attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they  have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.

The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated  them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them  on to their own offspring.

Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of  our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s  scientists.

Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races  of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high  intelligence.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility  pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human  germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.

Some experts severely criticised the experiments. Lord Winston, of the  Hammersmith Hospital in West London, told the BBC yesterday: ‘Regarding the  treat-ment of the infertile, there is no evidence that this technique is worth  doing . . . I am very surprised that it was even carried out at this stage. It  would certainly not be allowed in Britain.’

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn  Children, said: ‘One has tremendous sympathy for couples who suffer infertility  problems. But this seems to be a further illustration of the fact that the whole  process of in vitro fertilisation as a means of conceiving babies leads to  babies being regarded as objects on a production line.

‘It is a further and very worrying step down the wrong road for humanity.’  Professor Cohen and his colleagues diagnosed that the women were infertile  because they had defects in tiny structures in their egg cells, called  mitochondria.

They took eggs from donors and, using a fine needle, sucked some of the  internal material – containing ‘healthy’ mitochondria – and injected it into  eggs from the women wanting to conceive.

Because mitochondria contain genes, the babies resulting from the treatment  have inherited DNA from both women. These genes can now be passed down the  germline along the maternal line.

A spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA),  which regulates ‘assisted reproduction’ technology in Britain, said that it  would not license the technique here because it involved altering the  germline.

Jacques Cohen is regarded as a brilliant but controversial scientist who has  pushed the boundaries of assisted reproduction technologies.

He developed a technique which allows infertile men to have their own  children, by injecting sperm DNA straight into the egg in the lab.

Prior to this, only infertile women were able to conceive using IVF. Last  year, Professor Cohen said that his expertise would allow him to clone children  –a prospect treated with horror by the mainstream scientific community.

‘It would be an afternoon’s work for one of my students,’ he said, adding  that he had been approached by ‘at least three’ individuals wishing to create a  cloned child, but had turned down their requests.

TLB Note: Here is a great followup article 12 years later, please read …


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7 Comments on World’s first GM babies born

  1. Interesting what scientist can do. DNA modification not just for babies would be amazing for grown adults too. Oh the possibilities of it. I sure hope through time this can be used to heal human ailments/disabilities/mental issues. Then there will be no more excuse for people to not contribute to society or for the many not to take advantage of the gov’t benefits.

  2. Here we go again with the begats.
    Imagine a book that became a best seller advising us to go forth and multiply.
    All is cyclical.
    We continue to get ourselves to this place, evidence proves unequivocally, historically, since ancient times, we split the atom to return on a mushroom cloud, blowing ourselves back to the stone ages.
    Bloodlines can only be found in stair-step generations of the female, not in begats. Rocket Science MUST find a way to develop life outside the female womb. An obsession! Well, you’re doing it wrong, Big Brother!!!! ahahaaaa
    What exactly is wrong with the way women do what comes naturally, I sure as hell would like to know? Since time immemorial, and before they were burnt alive at the stake in fear of their power, women held the knowledge of at least 250 abortifactants in our medicine baskets, among numerous supportive of health for all, strengthening, healing herbs. As if we couldn’t make decisions on family planning… primitive? Pacht!

  3. Oh ,,, pu-lease … they fiddle with our food and lives until we are sterile and then they offer this as a fixit solution! Sickening!

  4. “Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.”

    I am Amazed and Flabbergasted that a genetically modified human with DNA from 2 women & one man could be called “normal” by anyone, let alone a scientist or doctor.

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