Should gene editing to create changes in embryos ever be permitted?
Yes, because it can save people's lives.
An experiment published in the Nature Medicines shows a successful case of Fetal gene therapy on Mice. Feti with a kind of genetic neuropath disease is selected in the experiment. A therapy is injected into half of the mice. Mice without the therapy died within 15 days but mice with the therapy lived for up to at least 18 weeks. This shows that embryo gene editing can help babies to avoid the genetic disease. Children who carry the gene for this disease cannot live for more than two years, but the experiment shows us that it is possible to cure the disease with embryo editing.
Creating changes in embryos is the only way to treat some of the genetic diseases. For example, the disease in an experiment in the Nature Medicines. A professor from National University of Singapore said that only embryos can be treated because their blood-brain barrier is not properly grown before they were born. After they are born, the blood-brain barrier will actually become the barrier in treating the disease.
Can the disease in the embryo be detected?
The strategy is very risky so we must learn to predict. Simon Waddinton, one of the conductor of the experiment above gave the answer.
Simon Waddinton: "We’re now at the point where it’s possible to diagnose these diseases,” he says. “It’s making people think: maybe we should be doing this."
(Who is he?
The Acting Director of the EGA Institute for Women's Health)
Develops gene therapy for early onset childhood disorders