Humanities majors will tell you that although science can tell you what can be done, it takes the humanities to tell you whether it is a good idea. In that vein, scientific activity seems to be forging ahead of the ethics again. Life just got a lot more complicated. According to this article we now have children with the DNA of 3 parents. Fifteen of the 30 healthy babies were the work of 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 [sic] 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’.