Genetically Engineered 'Designer' Baby Revolution Less Than Two Years Away
By Jude Chukwuemeka
There are arguments that creating 'designer babies' - genetically modified to have a lower risk of disease - is 'highly desirable' and should start within two years, a leading expert said yesterday. But in some countries such as the UK, this is illegal.
Dr Smith from Abertay University in Scotland has published analysis in the journal Bioethics, which found the risks of gene editing are now low enough to warrant its use with human embryos. There are also indications that parents having IVF could be offered the option to have the embryo 'edited' and that could reduce its risk of killer conditions such as dementia and cancer.
Scientists claim it is necessary to correct imperfections in human DNA. This they say, will also extend human life.
Dr Kevin Smith argues that parents having an IVF baby should be offered the option to have an implanted embryo 'edited' to reduce its risk of killer conditions such as dementia and cancer. He also added that 'ethically sound' creation of so-called designer babies could begin within two years and spark a revolution in genetic modification.
Dr Smith said: "The human germline is by no means perfect, with evolution having furnished us with rather minimal protection from diseases that tend to strike in our later years, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
"GM techniques offer the prospect of protecting future people against these and other common disorders. This has previously been achieved to an extent in GM experiments on animals.
"If several common disorders could be avoided or delayed by genetically modifying humans, the average disease-free lifespan could be substantially extended."
He said the sooner that scientists are permitted to start creating GM people, the sooner a wide range of benefits will be attained.