Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Messing with DNA

I'd like you to peruse the article below and just offer comments on that, if you have them, but I also want to add a few thoughts. So go read the article and come back. Seriously - at least browse it and then come back.
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"We are not trying to alter genes, we're just trying to swap a small proportion of the bad ones for some good ones," said Patrick Chinnery.

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Isn't swap another word for alter?

So far, 10 such embryos have been created, though they have not been allowed to develop for more than five days.

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I'd like to know what the religious and/or pro-life readers think of that. Personally, I think it's a shame to create life just to see if you can and then essentially destroy it because it doesn't work for you. But then again, science does that all the time.

Though the preliminary research has raised concerns about the possibility of genetically modified babies, the scientists say that the embryos are still only primarily the product of one man and one woman.

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First of all, let's cut the crap. It TOTALLY IS genetically modifying babies, however small the modification is. I'm not necessarily against using gene therapy, which this is very similar to. I have a deeper issue with science developing ways to fix problems which are essentially the symptoms of real problems in society. American culture has decadent and careless tendencies which are very tied into environmental degradation (which can be linked to several health issues, including cancer) and very tied to our health in general health as we age. So if we ignore the underlying causes of many illnesses and only treat the symptoms, how are we really improving the situation?

- I have to go, but may continue this thread later.



Embryos created with DNA from 3 people

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080205/ap_on_sc/embryo_research&printer=1;_ylt=AhKKgOUkN4nBx_0a3ehOZd1xieAA
2/5/08

British scientists have created human embryos containing DNA from two women and one man, a procedure that could potentially prevent conditions including epilepsy, diabetes and heart failure.

Though the preliminary research has raised concerns about the possibility of genetically modified babies, the scientists say that the embryos are still only primarily the product of one man and one woman.

"We are not trying to alter genes, we're just trying to swap a small proportion of the bad ones for some good ones," said Patrick Chinnery, a professor of neurogenetics at Newcastle University involved in the research.

The process aims to avoid passing onto children bad mitochondria genes, which are contained outside the nucleus in a normal female egg. Mitochondria are a cell's energy source, but mistakes in their genetic code can result in serious diseases like epilepsy, strokes, and mental retardation.

In their research, Chinnery and colleagues used normal embryos created from one man and one woman that had defective mitochondria in the woman's egg. They then transplanted that embryo into an emptied egg donated from a second woman who had healthy mitochondria.

"The proportion of genes in the mitochondria is infinitesimal," said Francoise Shenfield, a fertility expert with the European Society of Human Fertility and Reproduction. Shenfield is not connected to the Newcastle University Research.

Only trace amounts of a person's genes come from the mitochondria, and experts said it would be incorrect to say that the embryos have three parents.

"Most of the genes that make you who you are are inside the nucleus," Chinnery said. "We're not going anywhere near that."

So far, 10 such embryos have been created, though they have not been allowed to develop for more than five days. Chinnery hoped that after further experiments in the next few years the process might be available to parents undergoing in-vitro fertilization.

Similar research has been conducted in animals in Japan, and has already led to the birth of healthy mice who had their mitochondria genes corrected.

Shenfield said that further tests to assess the safety and efficacy of the process were necessary before it could be offered as a potential treatment.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Wow, I actually felt sick to my stomach reading that article...& not because of my religious beliefs, but because: 1) I'm just getting the 1st 100pages of "Hot Zone"; 2) I have recently looked up our world estimate for population growth; 3) I just had this overwhelming idea as I was reading the article---that---you may be able to change/expunge "something" from our DNA----but there is surely going to be "something" much stronger & resiliant that will take it's place. I guess my point is basic----you need the yin & yang for balance & balance is what makes life good. If I never experience pain then how will I relish pleasure. It's kind of like "the people" who are on this kick to eat egg whites and not the yolk-----are you kidding me---it's one of the most naturally complete/good for you protiens as a whole & in my book---whole & natural are also good. And by the way, I make a Damn good omlette. I'm not against research & science though, either. I actually hope that some good does come from all this stem cell research/science but I agree that in America, the powers that be & their supporters, are rather frightning---oh---& couldn't I just go off on that to, but I did already vote today---not necessarily something that is to be lauded---but, I did my best.
And, to finish-----Today is Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Carnival---all, one & the same----so everyone should celebrate (whether you observe it as a holiday, like Christmas or St Patrick's Day or not)---historically it was I time to use up all the goods in the larder so that they wouldn't be waisted during the 40 days of Lent. And, being waistful is no good----& wasn't that the point of all this "Good vs. Bad".