Method to Combat Genetic Disease

by Malc on September 9, 2009

baby4-w200-h200A method of ridding future generations of some serious inherited disease will soon be used on humans, scientists predict.

This method, called germline therapy, has been used successfully on monkeys. The work, carried out by the Oregan Health and Science University, has been published in the journal Nature. The method can be used for mothers undergoing [tag-tec]IVF[/tag-tec] treatment. It involves a change in the DHA existing in the mitochondria – the energy production units of the cell. Being outside of the chromosomes, this therapy is permitted without the need for new legislation.

The types of diseases [tag-tec]germline[/tag-tec] therapy could avoid include terribly debilitating diseases such as some [tag-tec]cancer[/tag-tec], nerve diseases, muscle diseases and [tag-tec]diabetes[/tag-tec].

The method involves ‘splicing’ mitochondrial DNA from two female donors, fertilizing the resulting egg, and implanting it into the womb. The resulting child would no longer have the genetic material which caused the identified disease.

Of course this procedure raises ethical questions; however, the option of avoiding future serious disease for an individual makes it a procedure worthy of serious consideration and study.


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