March 24, 2014

Barcoding human embryos

The accumulating horror of human beings treated like things.

Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals  The remains of more than 15,000 babies were incinerated as 'clinical waste' by hospitals in Britain with some used in 'waste to energy' plants

Barcoding Human Embryos

Scientists from Barcelona have announced in the journal, Human Reproduction, that they now can place a barcode tag directly on an embryo to make sure you end up with the right kid. Because mix-ups do happen.

… The direct tagging system based on lectin-biofunctionalized polysilicon barcodes of micrometric dimensions is simple, safe and highly efficient, allowing the identification of human oocytes and embryos during the various procedures typically conducted during an assisted reproduction cycle….. This system has now been tested in human oocytes and embryos…

Genetically Modified Food: Bad; Genetically Modified Humans: Good

The three-parent technique is particularly troubling because it does not just modify the resulting embryo; the modification will extend to further generations. This is what is called a germ-line modification: one that will be incorporated into egg and sperms cells and passed onto future offspring. Unlike the United States, many other countries have laws prohibiting germ-line modifications in humans.
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering allowing American in vitro fertilization clinics to bring to trial the three-parent technique for couples where the mother has mitochondrial disease. ….The average citizen likely assumes that the safety of the three-parent technique has been thoroughly studied and found to be safe for use in humans. The reality is something different. In a recent paper in Science, researchers revealed that, so far, the only other primates created with this technique are four macaques that have only reached three years of age and have not produced another generation. Other animal models show that mtDNA-nuclear DNA mismatch has some serious effects that may not be apparent until adulthood. The researchers were clear that "it is premature to move this technology into the clinic at this stage."

Children to Order: The Ethics of 'Designer Babies'  ...The FDA, meanwhile, only regulates the potential safety and efficacy of these techniques, not their ethical implications.

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 24, 2014 10:43 AM | Permalink