Genetic modification of human embryos at the gates
Published on: 19/01/2016

Researchers of the Institute "Francis Crick" in Britain say they are ready to start genetic modification experiments on embryos. This research will help according to the initiators the understanding of the early stages of the creation of life, the development of new effective treatments fertility and identify the causes leading to repeated miscarriages. This is a revolutionary but also quite controversial research on this and requires approval by the competent UK authorities to start. The research team has submitted an application to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and according to press reports the Authority decided to approve and invite researchers the next 24 hours to give further explanations before announcing its decision.

Researchers will modify genes of left over embryos from IVF institutes. Researchers will receive a fertilized egg and they will go on with genetic modification by eliminating specific genes. They will monitor the development of the egg for one week and then they will destroy it. They hope they will manage in this way to decipher the gene mechanisms that transform a "fresh" fertilized egg in a healthy fetus. "Although research on mice and other animals have helped scientists to learn much about the development of embryos however it is necessary to make studies with human embryos to elucidate the development of the early stages," say the members of the research team. 

Pros and Cons                                                                                                                 

This research has provoked positive and negative reactions. "This is an important step in fundamental level of scientific research. Recurrent miscarriage affects a very large number of people and the problem has not been investigated in depth. When this happens a miscarriage doctors usually say to couples simply try again. It is very important to increase our knowledge on this problem ", says Sarah Norcross, member of the organization Progress Educational Trust which helps people who face fertility problems and genetic diseases." We are against any form of research involving the destruction of human embryos” said the representative of the organization Comment on Reproductive Ethics. 

Source: Thodoris Lainas
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