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Category Archives: Human Genetic Engineering

Immoral Uses of Biotechnology Even With Good Intentions Are Evil – National Catholic Register

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

Commentary | Feb. 6, 2017

Should Christians face unethical uses of biotechnology with despair and resignation or with hope and determination?

Ive spent the last decade writing and speaking about the remarkable and terrifying world of biotechnology from a Catholic perspective. Many times Ive felt like Frodo Baggins at the gates of Mordor, looking upon Mt. Doom with despair and dread.

Ive never felt this more acutely than in the past few months. A series of recent headlines have renewed my sense of hopelessness in the face of the never-ending assault on the dignity of human life by modern biotechnology.

The gloom began to settle when it was revealed that a Swedish scientist is editing the DNA of healthy human embryos.Fredrik Lanner,a developmental biologist, is using a new gene-editing technique called CRISPR to disable some genes in healthy human embryos to see how those genes affect development. He and his team are intentionally modifyingotherwise healthy IVFembryos so they cannot develop properly.

Anin-depth story byNPRreveals that while the reporter was observing thegeneticmanipulation of five donated IVF embryos, one didnt survive the thawing process and one perished after being injected with the experimental gene-editing tool. Of the three who survived, one continued to divide, but not for long.All of the embryos were to be destroyedbefore they are 15 days old,as the law in Sweden dictates. Lanner insists that his research is critical to understanding human development, which, in turn, will shed light on infertility and disease.

Lanners work makes many ethicists and scientists extremely nervous. Jennifer Doudna, the co-inventor of CRISPR, along with other heavy-hitting scientists,havecalled for a voluntary moratorium on any editing of human embryosfor fear that it will lead to the creation of genetically modified children. Marcy Darnovsky, of the left-leaning Center for Genetics and Society, explains why she and her group havebeen so vocal in their opposition to the modification of human embryos. She told NPR: The production of genetically modified human embryos is actually quite dangerous. … When youre editing the genes of human embryos, that means youre changing the genes of every cell in the bodies of every offspring, every future generation of that human being. So these are permanent and probably irreversible changes that we just dont know what they would mean.

Then came the revelation that a U.S. doctor traveled to Mexico to create the first baby intentionally engineered to have three genetic parents. This technique, misnamed mitochondrial replacement or MR, seeks to eliminate the transmission of genetic disease through the mitochondria.Mitochondria are small but abundant organellesoutside the nucleusinthe cytoplasmof our cells that make energy. They have their own DNA called mtDNA. We inherit our mtDNA solely from our mothers. A woman who carries a deleterious mutation in her mtDNA cannot help but pass that on to her offspring.

There are various MR techniques that replace the mitochondria of a woman with mitochondrial disease with the mitochondria of a donor femalein the IVF process.Essentially, MR creates a genetically alteredembryo with the genetic material from three people, one man and two women.

MR had only undergone limited study in primates before getting approval in the United Kingdom for use in fertility clinics to make babies. Little is known about the complexcommunication between the DNA in the nucleus and the DNA in the mitochondria,and so there is little data on the effects ofa mismatch between the nuclear DNA and mtDNA.

Alsoin all MR, its the nucleus thats being moved from cell to cell, not the mitochondria which is why mitochondrial replacement is such a misnomer.This makes MR acousin to cloning, which also transplants the nucleus of one cell into anotherto make a new organism. MR brings with it many of the same risks.Scientists are concerned about the health of the resulting children.

In anopen letterto the U.K. Parliament, Dr. Paul Knoepfler, a vocal American stem-cell researcher, warned: Even if, hypothetically, this technology might help avoid some people from having mitochondrial disorders (and thats a big if), the bottom line is that there is an equal or arguably greater chance that it will tragically produce very ill or deceased babies.

MRis also a germ-line genetic modification, which means that any girl born with this technique will pass her genetic modification on to her children.

A recent review in Nature reveals that MR leaves a tiny percentage of mutant mitochondria behind, and sometimes the mutant mitochondria rapidly divide and overtake the healthy mitochondria. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, head of the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy at the Oregon Health and Science University, reported a 15% failure rate where mitochondrial defects returned. Mitalipov told NPR, That original, maternal mitochondrial DNA took over, and it was pretty drastic. There was less than 1% of the original maternal mitochondrial DNA present after replacement with donor DNA and before fertilization, and yet it took over the whole cell later. University of California San Francisco professor Patrick OFarrell suggests that mutant mitochondria can resurge at any time in a developing three-parent child or even resurface in future generations.

For all these reasons, MR is not yet approved by the FDA in the United States,and may never be.So, when a Jordanian woman with mitochondrial disease wanted to have a child using MR, John Zhang, from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, had to perform the procedure in Mexico. He created five embryos,and, according toNewScientist.com,only one developed normally. That child is now 9 months old.

Zhang went to Mexico because, he said, there are no rules, and yet he insists he did the safe and ethical thingin the absence of any medical or ethical oversight. In an ironic twist, the couple is Muslim and so chose the MR technique that wouldnt destroy existing embryos.But it was clear that only male embryos would be transferred for gestation, because boys cant pass on the genetic modification. What happened to the other four embryos, however? Were they destroyed,discarded or frozen? If they were females, would they have been destroyed anyway to make sure they couldnt pass on any ill effects?

Darnovskycalledthis rogue experimentationand added, No researcher or doctor has the right to flout agreed-upon rules and make up their own. This is an irresponsible and unethical act.

Knoepflerrespondedto the news by remindingus that this is a living human experiment that is going to unfold over years and decades. It is also worth noting that this child is a genetically modified human being as a result of this technique.

Of course, these are happenings to despair of not only because of the sheer disregard for the sanctity of individual human lives, but because of the breakneck speed at which scientists are kicking ethical lines farther and farther down the road like a tin can. All the while, they insist that its for the good of humanity. I wonder: How can wetreatindividual members of the human species so callously and then, at the same time, say its for the good of the whole human race?

I fear there is no line we wont cross;no ethical boundary wewonttear down in the name of science.

On a daily basis, Im surrounded by science and scientists. Often, their response to this madness is that its going to happen anyway, and theres no way to stop it, which implies we must go along to get along all in the name of progress.

If I am Frodo, then they and the rest of society are Saruman giving in to the despair and making a deal with Sauron.In the film version of The Lord of the Rings, Saruman says to Gandalf: Against the power of Mordor there can be no victory. We must join with him, Gandalf. We must join with Sauron. It would be wise, my friend.

Gandalf replies, Tell me, friend, when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?

Indeed. When did science abandon reason for madness, ethics for recklessness?

So what shall we do? If wesuccumb to despair, we become like Saruman.

We always have prayer. Its time toadd human embryonic research and germ-line human genetic engineering to our list of life issues that we pray about.It doesnt matter whether we understand the finer points of the science or not.Praying for an end to abortion andassisted suicide is nolongerenough.

In addition to prayer, there are other things we can do. The first is to vote pro-life at every level of government, from city council to state assemblymen. Being pro-life isnt just about abortion, however. Its about protecting the sanctity of life from the beginning to the end. Pro-life legislators, even if they cannot overturn Roe v. Wade, can effect local and state laws and steer funding away from unethical research.

Secondly, we must fight for conscience rights for medical professionals. I envision a not-so-far-off world wheredoctorsare forced into making genetically engineered embryos and bringing these children to term simply because parents claim its their reproductive right to have the children of their design. Without conscience rights, unethical experimentation on the next generation will be rampant and unchecked.

We must, however, always have hope. Whenstaring downthe juggernaut that is modern biotechnology, I always remember Frodo Baggins.When he was faced with the seemingly impossible task of taking the One Ring to Mordor, instead of shying away because it was too hard, he said: I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.

Rebecca Tayloris a

clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology.

She writes about bioethics on her blog,Mary Meets Dolly.

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Immoral Uses of Biotechnology Even With Good Intentions Are Evil – National Catholic Register

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Human-pig hybrids might be unsettling. But they could save lives. – Washington Post

Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm

By Paul Knoepfler By Paul Knoepfler February 2

Paul Knoepfler is a stem-cell biologist at the University of California at Davis and writes about innovative science at the Niche. His most recent book is GMO Sapiens: The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies. You can watch his TED talk on that topic here and find him on Twitter: @pknoepfler.

A new study out of California unsettled a lot of people last week after revealing that scientists had, for the first time, made part-human, part-pig embryos referred to as chimeras. That should be expected: The debate over the technology is a mixed bag of difficult issues not unlike the fire-breathing hybrid Chimera from Greek mythology.

But on balance, the promise of this biotechnology should outweigh our fears and ethical questions. Chimeras could be a game-changer in terms of organ transplants in coming decades, and for that reason, scientists should carefully proceed with the research.

More than 100,000 people in the United States currently sit on organ waiting lists, struggling to stay alive long enough to get a new liver or kidney. With few realistic alternatives to the limited supply of cadaver-based transplants, about 22 Americans die each day. Hundreds more die daily at the global level.

[Eight questions to ask before human genetic engineering goes mainstream.]

Our recent renaissance of cutting-edge biotechnologies particularly based on the utilization of pluripotent stem cells gives real hope for these people in need of transplants. What exactly is a human chimera? Its a mixture of a small number of human cells within an otherwise predominantly animal embryo, such as a pig. The hope is that, if allowed to grow, a chimera embryo would develop entirely as animal except for one harvestable organ that is human. It might even be possible for that organ to be produced from the patients own stem cells, making it a perfect match.

In the past, other researchers have made similar chimeric embryos, mixing human stem cells with mouse cells. But a mouse-size kidney or liver even if made of human cells cannot help a human, because these organs would be about the size of a small kidney bean. Pigs, on the other hand, are relatively closer to humans on the evolutionary tree, perhaps bringing us a small step closer to actual clinical use.

Even so, theres a long road ahead. The California researchers found that many of the human-pig chimeric embryos did not grow properly. And even if organs in pig chimeras ended up 100 percent human at a cellular level, they are certain to contain other factors such as pig proteins that could spark a patient immune reaction leading to organ rejection. Still, every cutting-edge biomedical technology faces technical obstacles at first, and there is a good chance that researchers might overcome these hurdles in the future.

Its understandable if people imagined full-grown, human-pig creatures when reading about this new research. In reality, though, the chimeras produced were only embryos just tiny collections of cells. If the technology progresses further, chimeras would have to be taken to term or near-term before full-size organs could be harvested. Inevitably that means there may be large chimeras produced and photographed for the world to see; but remember, these animals wouldnt look any different from ordinary animals, because only a single organ would be human.

Animal rights advocates were quick to raise ethical questions: Should we allow chimeric pigs to be used as a biomedical incubator of sorts and then sacrificed to obtain a human organ? But this ignores the fact that people are eating billions of animals each year.

Tougher questions focus on the human side of chimeras and include the dilemma of what makes an animal a human in terms of cells. How many human cells within a chimera overall would make that chimera too close to a human being? How many human brain cells and in particular neurons in a human-pig chimera would be too many? What should we do if a human-pig chimera accidentally ended up with an abundance of human cells in its brain? What if a human-pig chimera made human sperm or eggs?

[Whats the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?]

Fortunately, there are some simple technological answers to many of these questions. We could agree, for example, to prevent all chimeras from being born. We could also use animals that are sterile as the basis for making chimeras and closely monitor human cell numbers in chimeras (including in the brain) during early research studies. We could also ban organ production if human-cell levels consistently fall outside acceptable parameters.

Overall, though, the global shortage of organs for transplants is too urgent a problem to refuse to explore innovative solutions. We should pursue more human-chimera technology while from the start acknowledging and addressing the important bioethical considerations it faces. We should also carefully plan outreach efforts to the public as the technology advances.

Human chimeras not only have potential to address the organ shortage; they also could educate us about unexplored questions of human development. Groundbreaking biomedical technologies might be unnerving, but they have real potential to positively change our world.

Read more:

Eight questions to ask before human genetic engineering goes mainstream

Whats the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?

In defense of transhumanism

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Human-pig hybrids might be unsettling. But they could save lives. – Washington Post

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5 Key Pros and Cons of Human Genetic Engineering | NLCATP.org

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:03 am

When you take a close look at the human body it is easy to see that it is not without imperfection. This means that some bodies are built with inherent flaws and others fail over time. Science has the ability to change the way that humans are made and alter the flaws that are known. This can be done through the process of human genetic engineering. Altering the technology in humans is a topic that causes a lot of controversy. Human genetic engineering is something that people are either very passionate about or opposed to completely. Differing opinions on this issue drive forward the debate.

1. End Disease Human genetic engineering relies heavily on science in technology. It was developed to help end the spread of diseases. Using human genetic engineering it could be possible to change the way genomes are constructed to end some diseases. Genetic mutations can be to blame for certain diseases including Cystic Fibrosis, but with the help of human genetic engineering it could be possible to end this disease completely. If the complete benefits of human genetic engineering therapy are ever seen, it could have a huge impact on disease as a whole.

2. Longer Life Without certain diseases to increase death rates and decrease life span, it would be possible for more individuals to live longer and healthier lives. This means that human genetic engineering has the potential to improve the quality of life and allow for longer life spans. Reversing some of the cellular causes for decline of the body could be possible if strides are made with human genetic engineering.

3. Eliminating Illness and Disease in Unborn Children One of the largest benefits of genetic engineering is the prospect of helping cure illness and diseases in unborn children. Having a genetic screening with a fetus can allow for treatment of the unborn. Overtime this can impact the growing spread of diseases in future generations.

1. Ethical Issues Many of those opposed to human genetic engineering have their opinion based on ethical views. The belief that god should have ultimate power and we should not be altering nature is what many think should halt the progression of human genetic engineering. The power to shape the human race should not be left up to us humans, because there is divine intervention at work.

2. Safety Issue There are still many different unknowns linked to human genetic engineering. This brings up issues involving of safety. Getting genes into the human body is a complex process that could go bad very easily. The extent to the consequences if it goes bad are not fully known and could be quite devastating. The success rate is also something that brings up concern.

Some feel that more research needs to be done to further human genetic engineering technology, but others feel that this type of engineering has no place in society at all.

In order to obtain a full opinion on the topic of human genetic engineering, it is imperative that you gain a deeper understanding at the most basic level. It is essential that you know exactly what is meant by the concept of human genetic engineering and what it entails. This can be a very complex process, but you can break it down somewhat. In basic terms, human genetic engineering is a way to manipulate genes to make the human body closer to perfection. The altering of the genome has the ability to happen in the sperm or the egg cell. This type of genetic engineering is also referred to as germ line gene therapy and has the ability to change some of the traits a child is born with. The changes that are made through the child using germ line gene therapy would then be inherited traits that would be passed down for generations.

There is also another type of human genetic engineering that involves trading in a bad gene for a good one. This is done in the cells, but does not include the sex cell, which is the process of human genetic engineering refereed to as somatic cell gene therapy. To complete this process of human genetic engineering, functioning genes are fired into the human body to remove the bad function of the inferior gene. This technology does exist to some extent, but it has not been perfected and does not yet have a high success rate.

It is pretty difficult to classify such a complex issue as either good or bad. It is so much more complicated and hard to decipher than that. This issue brings up questions of ethics and often causes outrage among both sides. The only way to gain your own unbiased opinion on the topic of human genetic engineering is to look at both the pros and cons. Not everything involving this issue is a positive, but it is not all negative either.

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5 Key Pros and Cons of Human Genetic Engineering | NLCATP.org

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Gene therapy – Wikipedia

Posted: October 25, 2016 at 7:36 am

Gene therapy is the therapeutic delivery of nucleic acid polymers into a patient’s cells as a drug to treat disease.[1] The first attempt at modifying human DNA was performed in 1980 by Martin Cline, but the first successful and approved[by whom?] nuclear gene transfer in humans was performed in May 1989.[2] The first therapeutic use of gene transfer as well as the first direct insertion of human DNA into the nuclear genome was performed by French Anderson in a trial starting in September 1990.

Between 1989 and February 2016, over 2,300 clinical trials had been conducted, more than half of them in phase I.[3]

It should be noted that not all medical procedures that introduce alterations to a patient’s genetic makeup can be considered gene therapy. Bone marrow transplantation and organ transplants in general have been found to introduce foreign DNA into patients.[4] Gene therapy is defined by the precision of the procedure and the intention of direct therapeutic effects.

Gene therapy was conceptualized in 1972, by authors who urged caution before commencing human gene therapy studies.

The first attempt, an unsuccessful one, at gene therapy (as well as the first case of medical transfer of foreign genes into humans not counting organ transplantation) was performed by Martin Cline on 10 July 1980.[5][6] Cline claimed that one of the genes in his patients was active six months later, though he never published this data or had it verified[7] and even if he is correct, it’s unlikely it produced any significant beneficial effects treating beta-thalassemia.[8]

After extensive research on animals throughout the 1980s and a 1989 bacterial gene tagging trial on humans, the first gene therapy widely accepted as a success was demonstrated in a trial that started on September 14, 1990, when Ashi DeSilva was treated for ADA-SCID.[9]

The first somatic treatment that produced a permanent genetic change was performed in 1993.[10]

This procedure was referred to sensationally and somewhat inaccurately in the media as a “three parent baby”, though mtDNA is not the primary human genome and has little effect on an organism’s individual characteristics beyond powering their cells.

Gene therapy is a way to fix a genetic problem at its source. The polymers are either translated into proteins, interfere with target gene expression, or possibly correct genetic mutations.

The most common form uses DNA that encodes a functional, therapeutic gene to replace a mutated gene. The polymer molecule is packaged within a “vector”, which carries the molecule inside cells.

Early clinical failures led to dismissals of gene therapy. Clinical successes since 2006 regained researchers’ attention, although as of 2014, it was still largely an experimental technique.[11] These include treatment of retinal diseases Leber’s congenital amaurosis[12][13][14][15] and choroideremia,[16]X-linked SCID,[17] ADA-SCID,[18][19]adrenoleukodystrophy,[20]chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL),[21]acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL),[22]multiple myeloma,[23]haemophilia[19] and Parkinson’s disease.[24] Between 2013 and April 2014, US companies invested over $600 million in the field.[25]

The first commercial gene therapy, Gendicine, was approved in China in 2003 for the treatment of certain cancers.[26] In 2011 Neovasculgen was registered in Russia as the first-in-class gene-therapy drug for treatment of peripheral artery disease, including critical limb ischemia.[27] In 2012 Glybera, a treatment for a rare inherited disorder, became the first treatment to be approved for clinical use in either Europe or the United States after its endorsement by the European Commission.[11][28]

Following early advances in genetic engineering of bacteria, cells, and small animals, scientists started considering how to apply it to medicine. Two main approaches were considered replacing or disrupting defective genes.[29] Scientists focused on diseases caused by single-gene defects, such as cystic fibrosis, haemophilia, muscular dystrophy, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Glybera treats one such disease, caused by a defect in lipoprotein lipase.[28]

DNA must be administered, reach the damaged cells, enter the cell and express/disrupt a protein.[30] Multiple delivery techniques have been explored. The initial approach incorporated DNA into an engineered virus to deliver the DNA into a chromosome.[31][32]Naked DNA approaches have also been explored, especially in the context of vaccine development.[33]

Generally, efforts focused on administering a gene that causes a needed protein to be expressed. More recently, increased understanding of nuclease function has led to more direct DNA editing, using techniques such as zinc finger nucleases and CRISPR. The vector incorporates genes into chromosomes. The expressed nucleases then knock out and replace genes in the chromosome. As of 2014 these approaches involve removing cells from patients, editing a chromosome and returning the transformed cells to patients.[34]

Gene editing is a potential approach to alter the human genome to treat genetic diseases,[35] viral diseases,[36] and cancer.[37] As of 2016 these approaches were still years from being medicine.[38][39]

Gene therapy may be classified into two types:

In somatic cell gene therapy (SCGT), the therapeutic genes are transferred into any cell other than a gamete, germ cell, gametocyte or undifferentiated stem cell. Any such modifications affect the individual patient only, and are not inherited by offspring. Somatic gene therapy represents mainstream basic and clinical research, in which therapeutic DNA (either integrated in the genome or as an external episome or plasmid) is used to treat disease.

Over 600 clinical trials utilizing SCGT are underway in the US. Most focus on severe genetic disorders, including immunodeficiencies, haemophilia, thalassaemia and cystic fibrosis. Such single gene disorders are good candidates for somatic cell therapy. The complete correction of a genetic disorder or the replacement of multiple genes is not yet possible. Only a few of the trials are in the advanced stages.[40]

In germline gene therapy (GGT), germ cells (sperm or eggs) are modified by the introduction of functional genes into their genomes. Modifying a germ cell causes all the organism’s cells to contain the modified gene. The change is therefore heritable and passed on to later generations. Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Switzerland and the Netherlands[41] prohibit GGT for application in human beings, for technical and ethical reasons, including insufficient knowledge about possible risks to future generations[41] and higher risks versus SCGT.[42] The US has no federal controls specifically addressing human genetic modification (beyond FDA regulations for therapies in general).[41][43][44][45]

The delivery of DNA into cells can be accomplished by multiple methods. The two major classes are recombinant viruses (sometimes called biological nanoparticles or viral vectors) and naked DNA or DNA complexes (non-viral methods).

In order to replicate, viruses introduce their genetic material into the host cell, tricking the host’s cellular machinery into using it as blueprints for viral proteins. Scientists exploit this by substituting a virus’s genetic material with therapeutic DNA. (The term ‘DNA’ may be an oversimplification, as some viruses contain RNA, and gene therapy could take this form as well.) A number of viruses have been used for human gene therapy, including retrovirus, adenovirus, lentivirus, herpes simplex, vaccinia and adeno-associated virus.[3] Like the genetic material (DNA or RNA) in viruses, therapeutic DNA can be designed to simply serve as a temporary blueprint that is degraded naturally or (at least theoretically) to enter the host’s genome, becoming a permanent part of the host’s DNA in infected cells.

Non-viral methods present certain advantages over viral methods, such as large scale production and low host immunogenicity. However, non-viral methods initially produced lower levels of transfection and gene expression, and thus lower therapeutic efficacy. Later technology remedied this deficiency[citation needed].

Methods for non-viral gene therapy include the injection of naked DNA, electroporation, the gene gun, sonoporation, magnetofection, the use of oligonucleotides, lipoplexes, dendrimers, and inorganic nanoparticles.

Some of the unsolved problems include:

Three patients’ deaths have been reported in gene therapy trials, putting the field under close scrutiny. The first was that of Jesse Gelsinger in 1999.[52] One X-SCID patient died of leukemia in 2003.[9] In 2007, a rheumatoid arthritis patient died from an infection; the subsequent investigation concluded that the death was not related to gene therapy.[53]

In 1972 Friedmann and Roblin authored a paper in Science titled “Gene therapy for human genetic disease?”[54] Rogers (1970) was cited for proposing that exogenous good DNA be used to replace the defective DNA in those who suffer from genetic defects.[55]

In 1984 a retrovirus vector system was designed that could efficiently insert foreign genes into mammalian chromosomes.[56]

The first approved gene therapy clinical research in the US took place on 14 September 1990, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the direction of William French Anderson.[57] Four-year-old Ashanti DeSilva received treatment for a genetic defect that left her with ADA-SCID, a severe immune system deficiency. The effects were temporary, but successful.[58]

Cancer gene therapy was introduced in 1992/93 (Trojan et al. 1993).[59] The treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, the malignant brain tumor whose outcome is always fatal, was done using a vector expressing antisense IGF-I RNA (clinical trial approved by NIH n 1602, and FDA in 1994). This therapy also represents the beginning of cancer immunogene therapy, a treatment which proves to be effective due to the anti-tumor mechanism of IGF-I antisense, which is related to strong immune and apoptotic phenomena.

In 1992 Claudio Bordignon, working at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, performed the first gene therapy procedure using hematopoietic stem cells as vectors to deliver genes intended to correct hereditary diseases.[60] In 2002 this work led to the publication of the first successful gene therapy treatment for adenosine deaminase-deficiency (SCID). The success of a multi-center trial for treating children with SCID (severe combined immune deficiency or “bubble boy” disease) from 2000 and 2002, was questioned when two of the ten children treated at the trial’s Paris center developed a leukemia-like condition. Clinical trials were halted temporarily in 2002, but resumed after regulatory review of the protocol in the US, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.[61]

In 1993 Andrew Gobea was born with SCID following prenatal genetic screening. Blood was removed from his mother’s placenta and umbilical cord immediately after birth, to acquire stem cells. The allele that codes for adenosine deaminase (ADA) was obtained and inserted into a retrovirus. Retroviruses and stem cells were mixed, after which the viruses inserted the gene into the stem cell chromosomes. Stem cells containing the working ADA gene were injected into Andrew’s blood. Injections of the ADA enzyme were also given weekly. For four years T cells (white blood cells), produced by stem cells, made ADA enzymes using the ADA gene. After four years more treatment was needed.[citation needed]

Jesse Gelsinger’s death in 1999 impeded gene therapy research in the US.[62][63] As a result, the FDA suspended several clinical trials pending the reevaluation of ethical and procedural practices.[64]

The modified cancer gene therapy strategy of antisense IGF-I RNA (NIH n 1602)[65] using antisense / triple helix anti IGF-I approach was registered in 2002 by Wiley gene therapy clinical trial – n 635 and 636. The approach has shown promising results in the treatment of six different malignant tumors: glioblastoma, cancers of liver, colon, prostate, uterus and ovary (Collaborative NATO Science Programme on Gene Therapy USA, France, Poland n LST 980517 conducted by J. Trojan) (Trojan et al., 2012). This antigene antisense/triple helix therapy has proven to be efficient, due to the mechanism stopping simultaneously IGF-I expression on translation and transcription levels, strengthening anti-tumor immune and apoptotic phenomena.

Sickle-cell disease can be treated in mice.[66] The mice which have essentially the same defect that causes human cases used a viral vector to induce production of fetal hemoglobin (HbF), which normally ceases to be produced shortly after birth. In humans, the use of hydroxyurea to stimulate the production of HbF temporarily alleviates sickle cell symptoms. The researchers demonstrated this treatment to be a more permanent means to increase therapeutic HbF production.[67]

A new gene therapy approach repaired errors in messenger RNA derived from defective genes. This technique has the potential to treat thalassaemia, cystic fibrosis and some cancers.[68]

Researchers created liposomes 25 nanometers across that can carry therapeutic DNA through pores in the nuclear membrane.[69]

In 2003 a research team inserted genes into the brain for the first time. They used liposomes coated in a polymer called polyethylene glycol, which, unlike viral vectors, are small enough to cross the bloodbrain barrier.[70]

Short pieces of double-stranded RNA (short, interfering RNAs or siRNAs) are used by cells to degrade RNA of a particular sequence. If a siRNA is designed to match the RNA copied from a faulty gene, then the abnormal protein product of that gene will not be produced.[71]

Gendicine is a cancer gene therapy that delivers the tumor suppressor gene p53 using an engineered adenovirus. In 2003, it was approved in China for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.[26]

In March researchers announced the successful use of gene therapy to treat two adult patients for X-linked chronic granulomatous disease, a disease which affects myeloid cells and damages the immune system. The study is the first to show that gene therapy can treat the myeloid system.[72]

In May a team reported a way to prevent the immune system from rejecting a newly delivered gene.[73] Similar to organ transplantation, gene therapy has been plagued by this problem. The immune system normally recognizes the new gene as foreign and rejects the cells carrying it. The research utilized a newly uncovered network of genes regulated by molecules known as microRNAs. This natural function selectively obscured their therapeutic gene in immune system cells and protected it from discovery. Mice infected with the gene containing an immune-cell microRNA target sequence did not reject the gene.

In August scientists successfully treated metastatic melanoma in two patients using killer T cells genetically retargeted to attack the cancer cells.[74]

In November researchers reported on the use of VRX496, a gene-based immunotherapy for the treatment of HIV that uses a lentiviral vector to deliver an antisense gene against the HIV envelope. In a phase I clinical trial, five subjects with chronic HIV infection who had failed to respond to at least two antiretroviral regimens were treated. A single intravenous infusion of autologous CD4 T cells genetically modified with VRX496 was well tolerated. All patients had stable or decreased viral load; four of the five patients had stable or increased CD4 T cell counts. All five patients had stable or increased immune response to HIV antigens and other pathogens. This was the first evaluation of a lentiviral vector administered in a US human clinical trial.[75][76]

In May researchers announced the first gene therapy trial for inherited retinal disease. The first operation was carried out on a 23-year-old British male, Robert Johnson, in early 2007.[77]

Leber’s congenital amaurosis is an inherited blinding disease caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene. The results of a small clinical trial in children were published in April.[12] Delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) carrying RPE65 yielded positive results. In May two more groups reported positive results in independent clinical trials using gene therapy to treat the condition. In all three clinical trials, patients recovered functional vision without apparent side-effects.[12][13][14][15]

In September researchers were able to give trichromatic vision to squirrel monkeys.[78] In November 2009, researchers halted a fatal genetic disorder called adrenoleukodystrophy in two children using a lentivirus vector to deliver a functioning version of ABCD1, the gene that is mutated in the disorder.[79]

An April paper reported that gene therapy addressed achromatopsia (color blindness) in dogs by targeting cone photoreceptors. Cone function and day vision were restored for at least 33 months in two young specimens. The therapy was less efficient for older dogs.[80]

In September it was announced that an 18-year-old male patient in France with beta-thalassemia major had been successfully treated.[81] Beta-thalassemia major is an inherited blood disease in which beta haemoglobin is missing and patients are dependent on regular lifelong blood transfusions.[82] The technique used a lentiviral vector to transduce the human -globin gene into purified blood and marrow cells obtained from the patient in June 2007.[83] The patient’s haemoglobin levels were stable at 9 to 10 g/dL. About a third of the hemoglobin contained the form introduced by the viral vector and blood transfusions were not needed.[83][84] Further clinical trials were planned.[85]Bone marrow transplants are the only cure for thalassemia, but 75% of patients do not find a matching donor.[84]

Cancer immunogene therapy using modified anti gene, antisense / triple helix approach was introduced in South America in 2010/11 in La Sabana University, Bogota (Ethical Committee 14.12.2010, no P-004-10). Considering the ethical aspect of gene diagnostic and gene therapy targeting IGF-I, the IGF-I expressing tumors i.e. lung and epidermis cancers, were treated (Trojan et al. 2016). [86][87]

In 2007 and 2008, a man was cured of HIV by repeated Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (see also Allogeneic stem cell transplantation, Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, Allotransplantation) with double-delta-32 mutation which disables the CCR5 receptor. This cure was accepted by the medical community in 2011.[88] It required complete ablation of existing bone marrow, which is very debilitating.

In August two of three subjects of a pilot study were confirmed to have been cured from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The therapy used genetically modified T cells to attack cells that expressed the CD19 protein to fight the disease.[21] In 2013, the researchers announced that 26 of 59 patients had achieved complete remission and the original patient had remained tumor-free.[89]

Human HGF plasmid DNA therapy of cardiomyocytes is being examined as a potential treatment for coronary artery disease as well as treatment for the damage that occurs to the heart after myocardial infarction.[90][91]

In 2011 Neovasculgen was registered in Russia as the first-in-class gene-therapy drug for treatment of peripheral artery disease, including critical limb ischemia; it delivers the gene encoding for VEGF.[92][27] Neovasculogen is a plasmid encoding the CMV promoter and the 165 amino acid form of VEGF.[93][94]

The FDA approved Phase 1 clinical trials on thalassemia major patients in the US for 10 participants in July.[95] The study was expected to continue until 2015.[96]

In July 2012, the European Medicines Agency recommended approval of a gene therapy treatment for the first time in either Europe or the United States. The treatment used Alipogene tiparvovec (Glybera) to compensate for lipoprotein lipase deficiency, which can cause severe pancreatitis.[97] The recommendation was endorsed by the European Commission in November 2012[11][28][98][99] and commercial rollout began in late 2014.[100]

In December 2012, it was reported that 10 of 13 patients with multiple myeloma were in remission “or very close to it” three months after being injected with a treatment involving genetically engineered T cells to target proteins NY-ESO-1 and LAGE-1, which exist only on cancerous myeloma cells.[23]

In March researchers reported that three of five subjects who had acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) had been in remission for five months to two years after being treated with genetically modified T cells which attacked cells with CD19 genes on their surface, i.e. all B-cells, cancerous or not. The researchers believed that the patients’ immune systems would make normal T-cells and B-cells after a couple of months. They were also given bone marrow. One patient relapsed and died and one died of a blood clot unrelated to the disease.[22]

Following encouraging Phase 1 trials, in April, researchers announced they were starting Phase 2 clinical trials (called CUPID2 and SERCA-LVAD) on 250 patients[101] at several hospitals to combat heart disease. The therapy was designed to increase the levels of SERCA2, a protein in heart muscles, improving muscle function.[102] The FDA granted this a Breakthrough Therapy Designation to accelerate the trial and approval process.[103] In 2016 it was reported that no improvement was found from the CUPID 2 trial.[104]

In July researchers reported promising results for six children with two severe hereditary diseases had been treated with a partially deactivated lentivirus to replace a faulty gene and after 732 months. Three of the children had metachromatic leukodystrophy, which causes children to lose cognitive and motor skills.[105] The other children had Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, which leaves them to open to infection, autoimmune diseases and cancer.[106] Follow up trials with gene therapy on another six children with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome were also reported as promising.[107][108]

In October researchers reported that two children born with adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency disease (ADA-SCID) had been treated with genetically engineered stem cells 18 months previously and that their immune systems were showing signs of full recovery. Another three children were making progress.[19] In 2014 a further 18 children with ADA-SCID were cured by gene therapy.[109] ADA-SCID children have no functioning immune system and are sometimes known as “bubble children.”[19]

Also in October researchers reported that they had treated six haemophilia sufferers in early 2011 using an adeno-associated virus. Over two years later all six were producing clotting factor.[19][110]

Data from three trials on Topical cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene therapy were reported to not support its clinical use as a mist inhaled into the lungs to treat cystic fibrosis patients with lung infections.[111]

In January researchers reported that six choroideremia patients had been treated with adeno-associated virus with a copy of REP1. Over a six-month to two-year period all had improved their sight.[112][113] By 2016, 32 patients had been treated with positive results and researchers were hopeful the treatment would be long-lasting.[16] Choroideremia is an inherited genetic eye disease with no approved treatment, leading to loss of sight.

In March researchers reported that 12 HIV patients had been treated since 2009 in a trial with a genetically engineered virus with a rare mutation (CCR5 deficiency) known to protect against HIV with promising results.[114][115]

Clinical trials of gene therapy for sickle cell disease were started in 2014[116][117] although one review failed to find any such trials.[118]

In February LentiGlobin BB305, a gene therapy treatment undergoing clinical trials for treatment of beta thalassemia gained FDA “breakthrough” status after several patients were able to forgo the frequent blood transfusions usually required to treat the disease.[119]

In March researchers delivered a recombinant gene encoding a broadly neutralizing antibody into monkeys infected with simian HIV; the monkeys’ cells produced the antibody, which cleared them of HIV. The technique is named immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer (IGT). Animal tests for antibodies to ebola, malaria, influenza and hepatitis are underway.[120][121]

In March scientists, including an inventor of CRISPR, urged a worldwide moratorium on germline gene therapy, writing scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical application in humans until the full implications are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations.[122][123][124][125]

Also in 2015 Glybera was approved for the German market.[126]

In October, researchers announced that they had treated a baby girl, Layla Richards, with an experimental treatment using donor T-cells genetically engineered to attack cancer cells. Two months after the treatment she was still free of her cancer (a highly aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia [ALL]). Children with highly aggressive ALL normally have a very poor prognosis and Layla’s disease had been regarded as terminal before the treatment.[127]

In December, scientists of major world academies called for a moratorium on inheritable human genome edits, including those related to CRISPR-Cas9 technologies[128] but that basic research including embryo gene editing should continue.[129]

In April the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency endorsed a gene therapy treatment called Strimvelis and recommended it be approved.[130][131] This treats children born with ADA-SCID and who have no functioning immune system – sometimes called the “bubble baby” disease. This would be the second gene therapy treatment to be approved in Europe.[132]

Speculated uses for gene therapy include:

Gene Therapy techniques have the potential to provide alternative treatments for those with infertility. Recently, successful experimentation on mice has proven that fertility can be restored by using the gene therapy method, CRISPR.[133] Spermatogenical stem cells from another organism were transplanted into the testes of an infertile male mouse. The stem cells re-established spermatogenesis and fertility.[134]

Athletes might adopt gene therapy technologies to improve their performance.[135]Gene doping is not known to occur, but multiple gene therapies may have such effects. Kayser et al. argue that gene doping could level the playing field if all athletes receive equal access. Critics claim that any therapeutic intervention for non-therapeutic/enhancement purposes compromises the ethical foundations of medicine and sports.[136]

Genetic engineering could be used to change physical appearance, metabolism, and even improve physical capabilities and mental faculties such as memory and intelligence. Ethical claims about germline engineering include beliefs that every fetus has a right to remain genetically unmodified, that parents hold the right to genetically modify their offspring, and that every child has the right to be born free of preventable diseases.[137][138][139] For adults, genetic engineering could be seen as another enhancement technique to add to diet, exercise, education, cosmetics and plastic surgery.[140][141] Another theorist claims that moral concerns limit but do not prohibit germline engineering.[142]

Possible regulatory schemes include a complete ban, provision to everyone, or professional self-regulation. The American Medical Associations Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs stated that “genetic interventions to enhance traits should be considered permissible only in severely restricted situations: (1) clear and meaningful benefits to the fetus or child; (2) no trade-off with other characteristics or traits; and (3) equal access to the genetic technology, irrespective of income or other socioeconomic characteristics.”[143]

As early in the history of biotechnology as 1990, there have been scientists opposed to attempts to modify the human germline using these new tools,[144] and such concerns have continued as technology progressed.[145] With the advent of new techniques like CRISPR, in March 2015 a group of scientists urged a worldwide moratorium on clinical use of gene editing technologies to edit the human genome in a way that can be inherited.[122][123][124][125] In April 2015, researchers sparked controversy when they reported results of basic research to edit the DNA of non-viable human embryos using CRISPR.[133][146]

Regulations covering genetic modification are part of general guidelines about human-involved biomedical research.

The Helsinki Declaration (Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects) was amended by the World Medical Association’s General Assembly in 2008. This document provides principles physicians and researchers must consider when involving humans as research subjects. The Statement on Gene Therapy Research initiated by the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) in 2001 provides a legal baseline for all countries. HUGOs document emphasizes human freedom and adherence to human rights, and offers recommendations for somatic gene therapy, including the importance of recognizing public concerns about such research.[147]

No federal legislation lays out protocols or restrictions about human genetic engineering. This subject is governed by overlapping regulations from local and federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA and NIH’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. Researchers seeking federal funds for an investigational new drug application, (commonly the case for somatic human genetic engineering), must obey international and federal guidelines for the protection of human subjects.[148]

NIH serves as the main gene therapy regulator for federally funded research. Privately funded research is advised to follow these regulations. NIH provides funding for research that develops or enhances genetic engineering techniques and to evaluate the ethics and quality in current research. The NIH maintains a mandatory registry of human genetic engineering research protocols that includes all federally funded projects.

An NIH advisory committee published a set of guidelines on gene manipulation.[149] The guidelines discuss lab safety as well as human test subjects and various experimental types that involve genetic changes. Several sections specifically pertain to human genetic engineering, including Section III-C-1. This section describes required review processes and other aspects when seeking approval to begin clinical research involving genetic transfer into a human patient.[150] The protocol for a gene therapy clinical trial must be approved by the NIH’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee prior to any clinical trial beginning; this is different from any other kind of clinical trial.[149]

As with other kinds of drugs, the FDA regulates the quality and safety of gene therapy products and supervises how these products are used clinically. Therapeutic alteration of the human genome falls under the same regulatory requirements as any other medical treatment. Research involving human subjects, such as clinical trials, must be reviewed and approved by the FDA and an Institutional Review Board.[151][152]

Gene therapy is the basis for the plotline of the film I Am Legend[153] and the TV show Will Gene Therapy Change the Human Race?.[154]

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Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics …

Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Pete Shanks has written a terrific introduction to human genetic engineering and the fraught issues it raises. The basic question he takes on: How do we get what’s good out of human biotechnology, but make sure we don’t wake up one morning and find ourselves in GATTACA?

“Guide to Human Genetic Engineering” covers the cloning of people and pets, “transhumanism,” eugenics, sex selection, designer babies, gene doping, stem cells, and more. It welcomes beneficial uses of biotechnology, but cuts through the techno-boosterism that characterizes far too much of the current public discussion of these issues.

The book’s appearance is engaging, with a table or pull quote or something else visually interesting on almost every page. The writing is top-notch — entertaining, even funny and intermittently irreverent, but without ever losing sight of the seriousness and importance of the subject matter. The author clearly explains the technical basics, and goes beneath the surface of the political and social controversies, but not so deep as to lose “perplexed” or simply curious readers. He makes it clear what he thinks, but it’s obvious that he respects what others think too.

I recommend this book very highly.

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Human Genetic Engineering – The Future of Human Evolution

Posted: March 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Human genetic engineering is but one aspect of the overall field of Human Biotechnology. It is the most fascinating aspect of Human Biotechnology with the power to improve everyones quality of life, healing all of our genetic diseases permanently. We will soon be able to improve our mental, physical, and emotional capabilities. Well be able to introduce regenerative functions natural in other animals, increase longevity, and ensure a healthy diversity in the human genome. It carries the promise of enabling humanity to survive a wider range of environments on alien worlds ensuring our long term survival.

In this section of the website we have several articles on exactly what genetic engineering is, up to the state of the art, how it is accomplished, how we humans have been engaged in the activity for our own betterment for thousands of years, and how we can and are applying it to humans.

In addition to just the facts we also have a number of speculative articles that extrapolate the plausible, the probable, and the very unlikely in our exploration of the many paths to the future of human evolution.

The menu to the right has links to our genetic engineering articles.

Human Genetic Engineering: Improving the Quality of Life Now. Ensuring the Diverse, Robust Future of Human Evolution.

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Human Genetic Engineering : History

Posted: December 22, 2015 at 10:44 am

Human Genetic Engineering : History 4.93/5 (98.56%) 111 votes

Human Genetic Engineering History goes back to the 1919 when an engineer from Hungary gave a term biotechnology to products developed by using raw materials. The engineer made use of this term in its best possible sense. Civilizations in the ancient times discovered that a lot of products can be made by using micro-organisms.

However, people that time have no idea about there are active agents in the microbes. Back in 7000 B.C. some existing tribes also made precious discoveries about how to make beer using yeast. TheHuman Genetic Engineering History continues going ahead since those times. There is a lot of difference between Biotechnology and genetic engineering.

In one hand, gene manipulation is the result of equating biotechnology. However, many aspects are there that define biotechnology. On the other hand, genetic engineering came to perspective, because of its specific technique for manipulating genes.

The term Human Genetic Engineering made it presence felt in 1970. This is the time when several methods were devised with the help of molecular biologists for identifying or for isolating clone genes. Methods were also devised for manipulating the genes to other species or for mutating them in humans.

Restrictive enzymes got discovered during this research, and many have considered as the main success in the Human Genetic Engineering History. This enzyme can make organisms to isolate the DNA, and then it gets mixed with a vector preparation. Hybrid molecules can easily be generated with the sticky ends virtue. This molecule contains interest genes that can later get inserted into the vector.

Ethical concerns involved in Human Genetics

Many scientists knew that a lot of risk is there during the transfer of genes from one person to the other. Human Genetic Engineering History contains all the factors responsible for the invention of genetic engineering as a part of advance sciences. They found that their labs have been poised when they started experimenting clone genes.

Scientists also organized several meetings in order to discuss the risks involved in the transformation of genes. All scientists were given a chance to keep their points of view on the above subject. They made discussion on all the dangers that can potentially take place during their research. However, the meeting went unprecedented.

In this meeting, they made necessary or relevant decisions regarding the amount of time that might be needed for sorting out the solution. Certain guidelines came to existence for the recombinant organism biological and physical isolation. This should be done for ensuring that the organisms do not get mixed with the environment. Human Genetic Engineering History involves profound or numerous consequences.

Even if these recombinant organisms get mixed in the environment, then there will still be some time to make sure that it does effect the environment to a great effect. Gene cloning was at its peak position, and known to people of all religions and tribes by the end of 1976. Human Genetic Engineering History also involves the different advantages of advantages and disadvantage gene therapy can have on the living things.

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00.03.07: Human Cloning, Genetic Engineering and Privacy

Posted: October 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

by Carolyn Williams

Much of the technology is now available and with it comes a host of moral and ethical concerns. Is man playing God? Will clones become a subculture? Are we risking genetic disasters? Will this technology benefit all of society or just a select few? Cloned humans and genetically engineered bodies are the stuff that yesterdays science fiction was made of. Today, they are current event topics and promise to become our medical future. We may not be morally prepared for these events, but the technology is here. Do we ignore it, try to regulate it, hope and pray that it goes away or do we embrace this new technology?

I am inclined to agree with Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Biotech Century who writes, Our way of life is likely to be transformed more fundamentally in the next few decades than in the previous thousand years. (1) We are looking ahead to the possibility of cloning or replicating a baby, rather than reproducing one in the old-fashioned ways, growing brains in a jar and correcting genetic disorders in human fetuses. While these ideas may sound sensational and perhaps even frightening to some, they are fast becoming a part of our medical environment.

Cloning and genetic engineering dominate tomorrows medical environment. That is the environment into which todays students will enter. They will inherit the responsibilities as scientists, geneticists, doctors, lawyers, politicians, theologians and educators who will decide if these technologies are ethically and morally acceptable This study will serve as a useful introduction for getting students to think about tomorrows issues.

For some, the concerns have become fears so great that a number of people have called for an outright ban into the practice of cloning human beings. Likewise, the idea of genetically manipulating human DNA cells raises questions about designing ideal human beings and also prompts a call for banning such research.

Those who support the idea of a ban see no benefits in practicing cloning.. Some concerns go toward ideas of immorality for creating in laboratories that which God intended in nature. Others feel that there is much to be gained by continuing the research and testing its possibilities. For that group, cloning offers benefits to infertile couples or those seeking to solve medical problems.

There are those who feel that genetic research technology would be used for immoral purposes. It raises questions of who will be the beneficiaries? How do we guard against creating a preferred race, a selected intelligence or behavior? How do these ideas of creating and engineering life fit into the traditional scheme of procreating? Cloning and genetic engineering eliminate human individuality and deny diversity, according to proponents of the ban.

On the other side of the issue, there is much to be gained by forging ahead with research into this technology and its application. The benefits could well outweigh the fears that many have conjured up about genetic disasters. The problem is that actual results cannot be obtained without testing it on human beings. While early discovery promises that human genome technology has the potential to help solve numerous medical problems that relate to aging, replacement of human body parts, infertility and what we now view as incurable diseases, we cannot know what will happen without applying the technology.

Proponents of the ban feel that the rich and the powerful will dictate who is cloned or how those clones will function in society? Do we dwell on the possibility that some races or classes of people will be eliminated because they were not chosen to be cloned? Do we hold those same fears about genetic engineering? That somehow medical science will be responsible for providing society with a new social weapon over the underprivileged? Are there any good reasons to take the risks?

Although cloning and genetic engineering invite numerous questions about human behavior and societys views of the value of life, would a government ban stifle the potential progress that this technology might bring to our lives? Would an outright ban be a violation of ones constitutional right to find out if our fears are justified?

To create a clone, doctors begin with a single egg cell from any woman. The nucleus of the cell (the part containing the genes) is taken out and replaced with the nucleus of a cell from the person being cloned. The cell can then be implanted into any woman and allowed to grow, develop and be born like any baby. But the woman who carries it is not its mother. It has no mother or father as we understand these terms. It is a clone- a genetic duplicate of its donor. (2)

Cloning is not new. It has existed for years with plants and more recently, with some invertebrates. Now we move to the realm of human cloning. That is cause for more serious consideration. A human being is more than just his or her genes and a clone is more than just a copy of his or her donor. A clone and its donor are identical twins, each with its own individuality and its own soul. These twins will be years apart in age and subject to the environment in which each lives

While the idea of cloning a human being does raise various concerns, mostly fears, the facts as we know them today are that a clone is a duplicate of another human. being. It is no less human or any less individual than the human from which it is copied. However, that knowledge remains to be tested and at this time the country is not prepared to find out if cloning works in practice as it does in theory.

first successful freezing of bull semen – 1950

frogs cloned from asexual tadpole cells- 1952

frogs cloned using cells of older tadpoles- 1962

Baby Louise was conceived in a laboratory dish through in vitro fertilization -1978

Baby M was born to a surrogate mother through artificial issemination-1983

Dolly, the sheep was reproduced in the exact genetic image of its mother- 1996/ 1997

Cloning of a Rhesus monkey whose reproductive development is close to a humans-1997.

Cloning of two more sheep, Molly and Polly with human blood clotting proteins in their milk which will be extracted to treat human hemophilia -1997

Cloning has been successful in these areas. What makes the difference in trying it with human beings? There is a fear that embryos will be manipulated to produce a child with the desired eye or hair color or with enhanced physical prowess or intelligence. Another fear is that a human will be cloned to provide organs for transplants for its genetic twin. (4) We cannot know if these things will happen.

The questions are taken from Lee Silvers Remaking Eden . The information which follows each question briefly summarizes Silvers research and is offered to aid you in your discussion of cloning as a reproductive choice. Each summarized response is followed by a citation note which indicates a range of pages where further clarification of the information can be found in the text.

-Could a woman give birth to her identical twin sister?

Consider the futuristic account of Jennifer and Rachel which begins in the year Jennifer is a thirty-five year old single woman who wants to have a child. Jennifer is well aware that cloning is illegal under federal law, except in the case of infertile women. Unlike twentieth century women who had to rely on sperm donated by a male, Jennifer decided to use her own cells to create new life.

A dozen or so eggs are recovered from Jennifers ovaries and each is fused with a donor cell taken from the inside of her mouth. The incubated eggs yield healthy embryos that are then implanted into Jennifers uterus. Nine months later, a healthy baby girl, Rachel is born to Jennifer.

Clearly Jennifer is Rachels birth mother because Rachel was born from Jennifers body. Rachel has no father because there is no male involvement. Jennifer is not Rachels genetic mother. Genetically, Jennifer and Rachel are twin sisters. This means that Rachels genetic parents are the same as Rachels genetic parents. Rachels genetic parents are in reality the two people that are traditionally referred to as her grandparents. Fanciful? (5)

-Could a child have two genetic mothers?

Technically it is possible to produce a fully healthy child through the fusion of two embryos from two different women. The eggs are harvested from both women and each fertilized using donated sperm from one single donor. The fertilized eggs are then incubated for the necessary period. After which the selected embryos from each of the two women are pushed together. They immediately stick to each other. From what was two embryos, there is now only one. While there is more clinical work to be done the resulting embryo shares two genetic mothers. Amazing! (6)

-Could a man become pregnant?

Is Male pregnancy possible? Probably yes . Is male pregnancy feasible? No, not at this time. Its not just a question of whether the baby lives, but whether the pregnant man himself survives the birth. The three ingredients that are essential for pregnancy are a fertilized egg, a hormonal environment to allow implantation and a living womb within which the embryo can grow and form a placenta. All of these occur naturally in a woman, but would have to be duplicated for a mans body. Presently, that duplication is a far reach into the future technology of cloning.

Science offers as proof, the birth of Baby Louise in 1978 which has shown that a womans eggs can be fertilized in vitro. Those eggs can then be inserted into a mans body through a tiny glass needle. That satisfies the first ingredient. The second ingredient is satisfied without new research. Doctors have already successfully stimulated the pregnancy environment in post menopausal women. With hormonal injections to stimulate the pregnancy environment, the implantation should likely take hold in a man in the same way that it does in a woman. That leaves the question of the living womb- the third and final ingredient. Again, science offers as proof, some abnormal pregnancies in which a womans abdomen acting as the womb have successfully resulted in live and healthy Cesarean births. Although many are dangerous to the mother and the fetus, some have occurred with positive results. While this kind of birth would represent a greater danger for men if spontaneous hemorrhaging occurred, the question remains. If a womans abdomen can act as a womb, why cant a mans?

The definitive answer(s) to the initial question are, Yes, male pregnancy is possible, but still, only through the help of a surrogate mother.. No, it is not likely to be tried by men or by clinicians who are asked to perform such a procedure for men. However, in our future, there will be males who will seek such a procedure and they will be accommodated. Think about that! (7)

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that various public officials are proposing legislation to outlaw human cloning or at the very least impose restrictive limits on the research that will lead to cloning. To date, researchers fear that the US Congress could pass laws banning research on human cloning. A directive issued in 1997, by President Clinton to ban the use of federal funds for human cloning research suggests that an outright ban to continue the research and eventually the practice will be the next step taken by Congress. The directive not only bans the use of federal funds to public research companies, but also urges those who receive private funding to accept a voluntary five- year moratorium on such research, at least while the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) reviews the issues and prepares a report. (8)

The directive was published in April of 1997, the Commission promised a report by the end of May in that same year. The NBAC examined ethical, legal and religious implications of cloning before urging a moratorium on human cloning. By Spring of 1999, Skeptic Magazine reported The Commission concludes that at this time it is morally unacceptable for anyone in the public or private sector, whether in a research or clinical setting; to attempt to create a child using somatic nuclear transfer cloning. (9) Somatic cell nuclear transfer was the technology used to clone Dolly, the sheep. Scientists feel that the same technology could be used to clone humans.

Ethical concerns against cloning as outlined by the Commission:

Catholic teaching refers to human cloning as something out of the norm. The cloning of human beings would be a violation of the natural moral law. The Catholic Medical Association CMA is opposed to any attempts at human cloning and finds it -contrary to the method of procreation designed by God. (11)

We can not know what harm or benefits cloning will bring to our human existence, as we know it today. We do know however, that much of what we fear in this technology will continue to play a role in our changing evolution.

To conclude this segment, I quote from Lee Silver, For human beings, though, its not just a question of whether cloning could work, its a question of whether it could work safely. A basic principle of medical ethics is that doctors should not perform any procedure on human subjects if the risk of harm is greater than the benefit that might be achieved. (12) Physicians would be obligated to refrain from practicing cloning technology unless they are sure that it causes no greater dangers than that which is associated with natural conception. As it stands now, can they be sure if they are banned from practicing?

Read and discuss the opening section on cloning Take an informal survey to find out if students understand what cloning is and how it happens.. Now find what individuals feel about cloning. Are they for or against it, based on their present knowledge? Why ?

Engage students in some dialog about cloning as a personal choice. Allow them to speak freely as to whether anyone would choose cloning for any reason. Guided questions should be general at this point. Follow the discussion with some focus on first impression ideas of what might be considered beneficial or harmful about cloning.

Read aloud with the class Been There; Done That and invite the students to ask questions about the reading. If there are no questions, pose some. For example, Is Baby Louise any less human that you are? Would a child born through a surrogate be loved differently than an adopted child? Would a cloned child necessarily be treated differently from either of these?

Choose one of the questions from Things that make your Brain Itch Engage students in critical thinking exercises to ease them into the idea of evaluating their personal positions through writing about any one of the topics that is suggested by the questions. Challenge or charm them to use their critical and creative thinking strengths to write and present a persuasive essay, or to create an original poem, short story, one- act play, song or any other idea that might demonstrate their understanding of the concepts and allow for some learning challenge at the same time.

One of the most significant changes within the twentieth century and early decades of the twenty-first century is the development of our ability to manipulate life through genetic engineering. Science promises to achieve in overnight laboratories the process of natural selection which would otherwise take millions of years in nature. Research predicts that one day geneticists may be able to remove traits from human beings that are considered undesirable and replace them with more acceptable ones. However, that is in our future. Currently, the battle is to be able to freely and legally complete the research that will eventually lead to this kind of genetic engineering of humans.

At this point, members of this society, like those in Canada and Europe raise questions in protest of the ethics and the morality of such practices. Should the US follow other countries and allow this protest to lead to an outright ban or stiff regulations against genetic engineering ? An outright ban not only limits potential medical breakthroughs, but limits personal freedoms as well.

Humans have some 100,000 genes which serve as instructions to the body. What will it mean to know the complete human genome, asks Eric Lander of MIT s Whithead Institute. According to Lander, some of the genes identified are linked to diseases like cancers of the breast and colon, Alzheimers, Glaucoma and Parkinsons. Figuring out how the genes work promises to lead to prevention and or advanced treatment.(14)

Genes are located in the nucleus of every living cell. Each gene is a molecule of a chemical called DNA which acts like a master code to determine characteristics of the individual. When the living cells reproduce themselves, by dividing in two the DNA is reproduced exactly. Genetic engineering brings about a specific mutation (changes in the structure of a DNA molecule) in a specific gene. Once scientists determine the gene or groups of genes that contain the characteristics that they want to change, a computer maps the exact structure of the DNA molecule, locating the part that must be removed and replaced by new coding material that will change the information that the gene sends to the body. (15)

Some biotech companies are concentrating their efforts in the field of tissue engineering and fabrication of human organs. While others are turning their attention to unde rstanding how genes switch on and off and interact with their environment to cause genetic diseases. Still others have dedicated their energies to creating artificial human chromosomes, a development that could lead to the customized design of genetic traits in the sex cells, or in the embryonic cells just after conception.

Scientists are projecting that by the year 2011, they would have learned how to program the development of cells that could be transplanted into humans. However, it will take many more years before theyre are able to fool cells to develop into an entirely new organ like a liver or a kidney.

Researchers hope to move beyond the notion of transplants and into the era of fabrication, and are already well along in research to fabricate human heart valves, breasts, ears, cartilage, noses and other body parts. (16) Following the wisdom of Robert Langer and Dr. Joseph P. Vicanti, leaders in this field, Rifkin agrees that The idea is to make organs, rather than simply move them. Researchers in this field predict that by the year 2020 ninety-five percent of human body parts will be replaceable with laboratory grown organs.

One example of how this extraordinary technology would work may be told in the story of a ten year old boy into whom a laboratory- grown human organ was expected to be transplanted in 1998. At Bostons Childrens Hospital, director of tissue engineering at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Anthony Atala grew a human bladder in a glass jar. Atalas research team seeded a plastic scaffolding made to represent the three dimensional shape of a bladder with bladder cells from the patient. The human cells grew over the frame in the laboratory jar and was expected to be transplanted- making it the first tissue-engineered organ ever transplanted into a human. What should happen with this new technology is -eventually the scaffolding over which the cells had been growing will be destroyed by the patients own enzymes, leaving a fully functioning human bladder. (17)

While all of these things might possibly result from genetic engineering, many believe that there is great danger in man altering the order of nature. Altering genes in humans could have dramatically different results than those discovered in lab mice. The human body tends to reject anything foreign, like a virus carrying a corrective gene into a diseased cell. (18) So far, experimental treatment has been confined to treating life -threatening diseases and altering somatic cells which pass on altered genes to future generations. Where should lines of human intervention be drawn?

We likely cant count on parents-to-be who wish to choose physical characteristics, personalities or talents of their children. It is now possible to screen thousands of genes within individual embryos. Scientists are developing ways in which to remove or replace genes in individuals so as to change their individual attributes. With enough money the perspective parent will be able to include whatever traits he/ she desires in the offspring Genetic screening also makes it possible to determine what diseases or kind of illness that the child is predisposed to.

There is an even greater concern about the misuse of genetic screening. There have been reported cases of discrimination in providing health insurance coverage to people who are known to be predisposed to life-threatening diseases. There are also reported cases of employee discrimination. One such case involved a social worker who was abruptly dismissed from her job when her employee learned that she was predisposed to Huntingtons disease (19)

What does this kind of genetic tracking mean to students in various learning environments? Too often the child who is diagnosed as having a genetic disorder will likely receive less attention and support from teachers who feel that the child will not learn anyway. The handicapped or special need students might well be dismissed totally. For these students the discrimination has social implications far beyond their school years into their adult years, where their genetic profiles will follow them. They will become twice victimized by their genetic

Segregating individuals by their genetic makeup represents a fundamental shift in the exercise of power.(20) Institutions who hold such information also hold a weapon of absolute power. There is also concern about further dividing society into genetically superior and genetically inferior groups. Those who can afford to program superior traits into their fetuses at conception stand to gain biological, social and economic advantages.

from Omnis Future Medical Almanac (partial listing)

When using the information given in this timeline, you will need to check various sources for actual dates of events- given that these dates represent projections and many of them have already occurred. The editors of this book advise its users that they are looking at basic research and ongoing clinical trials, along with the fantasies of medicines brightest minds and dreams that will change the face of health care. The book presents medical sciences cutting edge, but also takes a look at what the future will likely bring. (21)

1986 first human gene therapy trials for ADA and purine nucleaside phosphorylase deficiency begin

. 1987-1990 Genetically engineered drugs to control hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, stress and certain cancers were FDA approved.

1991-1995 Scientists map all fifty cancer genes

1996-2000 Major outline of human gene map is known.

Prenatal genetic screen tests become available for home use. 2001-2010 First human gene therapy traits for Alzheimers and other diseases resulting from defects in more than one gene begin.

2011-2100 Gene transfer therapy for all hereditary diseases becomes standard practice. All hereditary or genetically linked diseases are eradicated.

Procedure:

Introduce the idea of altering ones physical appearance by asking the children which of the following procedures they may consider having done now or in the future through cosmetic surgery? Would anyone have your teeth straightened? Would you go for a hair transplant or permanent weave? Would you consider breast enlargement or reduction?

Explain to the students that these are minor flaws that many consider changing as a way of improving their overall appearances. But there are those that interfere with the quality of ones life and may be necessary in order to save a life or at least provide a greater quality of life.

Engage students in dialog by asking the following questions. If you were born with club feet, would you want to have them surgically corrected? If you were born with a congenital heart disease would you have that corrected?

Now tell them that scientists are working on ways to detect and correct those abnormalities before children are born through genetic engineering.

Have students set up notes for working definitions of the terms found in Vocabulary segment .

Next read the segment entitled Genetic Engineering and its possibilities Handout 1. Allow sufficient time for students to record definitions as they find them in the reading.

Discuss the reading by raising questions that relate to students understanding of the information.. For example ask, From your reading, can you describe the process by which genes are genetically altered ?

Next have students discuss and make notes outlining some of the ways in which genetic engineering technology is intended to be used. After taking notes and some discussion, ask students to express their ideas of what it might mean to be a human being in a world where babies are genetically designed and customized in the womb.

What are some of the positive and negative results of people being identified, stereotyped and discriminated against on the basis of their genotype?

Take some time to survey the Timeline- Handout 2. Open a discussion into the possibilities of these things occurring and some of their implications.

Ask students to elaborate on the following ideas by looking at the positive and negative implications. Will the ability to eliminate certain diseases ensure that there is no sickness or death from poor health? What could it mean to have a life expectancy of 125 or more years?

Find out if students agree with those who support research on human embryos as a step toward eventually having the ability to eliminate certain diseases or are they more inclined to follow the position taken by those who feel that human experimentation is morally unacceptable even if it does provide knowledge for eliminating certain diseases from the body?

Close the lesson segment by posing these questions . What are the risks we take in attempting to design a more perfect human? How much perfection is enough to satisfy whomever seeks improvement through science rather than nature?

The struggle to balance the protection of individual rights, social interests and technology against the founding principles and values declared in the Constitution may take on a whole new meaning in the face of this new biomedical technology. What may appear at first glance as a violation of our right to privacy, may in effect be a protection of those rights for individuals who are not among the rich and the powerful.

What is a citizens constitutional right to privacy as it relates to reproduction choices? Although not stated in the constitution as a fundamental guarantee, the Supreme Court has declared that two types of privacy are protected by the Constitution One type of privacy is interpreted to include the right to make personal decisions. The other covers the right to keep personal information private. It implies freedom to decide without government interference with that choice.

Human Cloning is a reproductive choice and a person has a legal right to choose it as such. If the current ban against human cloning continues it will directly affect the person who chooses cloning as a way of creating a family. That would be a direct interference from government. It would be a violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth amendment

What are the past decisions handed down by the courts in privacy cases? Earlier Court rulings allowed women the right to choose abortion in Roe v. Wade. Would the same be extended in the choice to create a life The Court has had to acknowledge in vitro fertilization (IVF) as an alternative form of creating life. Would cloning fall into that same category? Yes, it should. It is an alternative form of reproduction, but it is different in that the cloned individual is a genetic duplicate of a previously existing genotype.

Lori Andrews offers this differentiation. Cloning is sufficiently distinct from traditional reproduction or alternative reproduction. It is not a process of genetic mix, but of genetic duplication. It is not reproduction, but a sort of recycling, where a single individuals genome is made into someone else.(22) Will the wisdom of the Court and the logic of their reasoning rulings mentioned above serve as basis for allowing the practice of cloning? Will the idea of cloning require a broader interpretation of the Constitution?

If indeed, cloning is considered a form of reproduction, the Court has been clear on the matter of fundamental rights to privacy in Roe v. Wade (1973) and consequent rulings which followed. Will the Court now reverse itself by upholding a ban on human cloning practice? By doing so is the government violating an individuals right to choose if, when and how to beget a child?

By banning human cloning is government protecting privacy rights in that it stops human experimentation and protects the rights of those who wish not to be cloned? People have few legal rights to their body tissues and genes once they leave the bodies. Under current law, it would be easy for someone to get DNA from a hair follicle, or in a medical setting without permission and there is no legal recourse for reclaiming it or its resulting use.

The right to privacy, simply interpreted is a reasonable expectation to be able to choose. Do scientists expect government should interfere with their ability to make new discoveries and pass them on to the general public? Do infertile couples who wish to have themselves cloned expect government to decide that they should not be cloned?

Do pharmaceutical companies expect to be prohibited from developing new drugs to treat known diseases now that their new genome research has led to a better understanding of what causes the body to break down? If scientists have a better understanding of how genes can be manipulated to send different signal to the body, do they expect that government will deny them the right to do so because of a legal ban?

The government s invasion into the privacy of individuals may be best illustrated in the area of genetic testing. The genetic surveillance and tracking represented by the federally funded Human Genome Project poses enormous threats to our basic rights to privacy and self determination,(23) If everyone is tested and categorized, the potential for misuse of that information is so great that it screams for legislation to prevent genetic discrimination.

This discrimination is very different from what many in this country already experience. What is different are the mechanisms through which it is applied. It is virtually impossible to escape your genetic profile in the workplace, in seeking health care or insurance coverage, in schools and through bills passed by legislators to test a variety of groups, namely prisoners, welfare recipients immigrants and others who are powerless to stop it.

Genetic technologies reflect the power differentials in our society; they do not equally benefit all segments, nor are they meant to.(24) Thus these technologies become social and political weapons in an already divided society.

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00.03.07: Human Cloning, Genetic Engineering and Privacy

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Online Debate: Human genetic engineering is a good thing …

Posted: at 9:45 pm

My argument is that genetic engineering, and specifically human genetic engineering is a good thing.

I believe that human genetic engineering (HGE) can benefit human kind in an endless number of ways including but not limited to :

*Increased lifespan *Decreasing disease *Making humans happier *Making humans stronger *Making humans smarter *Making humans better looking (Yes, even this can be done and is good)

I will let my opponent make the first actual argument and I will then, after my opponent has made their argument, go into much further detail on my own argument as well as addressing theirs. So, I leave it to any challenger to argue against my initial statements and my general argument.

Con, I await your response. 🙂

Increased lifespan-If HGE did increase human lifespan why would us as a society want that? Thousands of people are brain dead and have you ever heard of this? http://en.wikipedia.org…

Making humans happier-I know many kids who are made fun of for being gay,black, Mormon etc.So if I was a clone (or altered) I am certain I would be made fun of way more than anyone else.Also kids have trouble when they are adopted, and can not find their family.If I was a clone, and I didn’t even have a family?I would have no real family and thus no reason to be happy.

Better looking- hhttp://gorillasafariadventure.com… http://alpha-mag.blogspot.com… One is real……

At first, since as everything is economic, the rich people would be the first to try and use HGH (as they use HRT today more commonly). How would we know it works? We would know that it would work through scientific testing, lab testing, finally human testing. Etc. It would be a long process. Eventually everyone would be able to afford it as technology improves.

The upper class having exclusive rights to these technologies would last a few decades at most. Perhaps less.

I do not support cruelty to animals, but animal testing happens and it can prove very beneficial to humanity. Would I sacrifice some animals for humanity getting smarter and better off in the long run? Sure. Why? Because, the smarter we get the more we will understand animals and, in the long run, treat them better…

Overpopulation is a problem today purely because we, as humans, aren’t smart enough to control ourselves and our reproductive abilities. We can’t manage ourselves. With increased intelligence, this would no longer be a problem. Science has proven that higher I.Q. and education leads to less children, and having children later.

Would a child be picked on for being altered? I can’t imagine how they would, since no one would even have to know. Moreover, in time, nearly everyone will have genetic alterations so it won’t matter. I, for one, do not believe that we should refrain from using genetic therapy to cure depression, make people happy, make them live longer, healthier, etc. all because there is some chance some one might be made fun of somewhere. It seems nonsensical to me.

I don’t know why you are bringing cloning into the issue. I never mentioned cloning.

So from what you said I really can not see how you do not support animal cruelty? Its better off in the “long run” for animals? Do you Eccedustin not understand an animal?That they are an organism just like US.Non human animals experience sensations just like we do. They too are strong,intelligent, and evolutionary. They to are capable of adaptation, and can not adapt in a cage just so they can be experimented on because we are to ignorant to solve our problems that WE created. Not them. How will pain and suffering benefit animals? The more HGE develops the more tests need to be done. Proving that more animals will be needed thus proving that “in the long run” is not true and you support animal cruelty. It seems you are a typical speciest willing to hurt anything just so you can “look better” I will be waiting for your stuck up response

Any technology that comes up will come up through the basic process of capitalism. If you look at technologies in the past, all of them were exclusively for the rich. This, however, does not last long. Cars, Computers, Refrigerators, etc. We’ve all got them now, even the lower class for the most part. The same would be true of Genetic engineering. The technology would, over time, become available to EVERYONE. So I do not believe that the argument is relevant or valid.

I understand and agree with you that animals, beside us humans, have feelings and emotions. That is not the issue here. The issue is that most animal cruelty is not the result of experiments from scientists but rather from ignorant people who abuse animals because they are to stupid to know any better. With increased intelligence, people will know about animals more and be empathetic towards them more. So, in the long run, it would greatly benefit animal kind.

If you look at it another way, Humans could easily become vegetarians with genetic engineering. Removing any possible side effects from purely Vegetarian diets (if there are any) would result in even less animal cruelty.

The thing about cars, computers, refrigerators, you can mass produce them. Can you train as many HGE surgeons as X-ray technicians in the next fifty years when we barely understand it right now? Logically lower class, non high school graduates can make cars, but not perform gene transplants. Which means that a whole new branch of schooling is going to be created just to support that. Chemo therapy can cost up to 30,000 dollars for just one session? Not many even lower upper class can afford that. Insurance wouldn’t even cover it like it does for most things.

Those ignorant people are the scientists. Please watch that video.

Do you want that happening just so you can look better? Just so that we can solve the problems WE created? I really have no idea what you are talking about when you say “increased intelligence about animals.” Native Americans or the first hieroglyphics were of animals. In ancient Mesopotamia they treated animals way better than we do now? Or the Native Americans doing ceremony’s for all the animals they killed? Did they not understand animals? Have we just become more ignorant? In your last statement you said “that animals, beside us humans, have feelings and emotions.” So that means animals are almost like us? Really I see no logic in “increasing our intelligence” will help us treat animals better. We will want more,build more, need more, kill more because we want to know how to make money!

Vegetarians live approximately seven years longer than people on a vegetarian diet. So no we would find ways to make meat better for us and thus eat more animals.

I think that HGH won’t require surgeons as much as a single injection in the future. We would be able to mass produce that as well, or better, as we can mass produce anti viruses, etc.

Historically ALL technology has become more available and cheaper as time goes by. Chemo therapy will beocme cheaper and more available in the future as well.

Your arguments are nonsensical. You say that because Genetic engineering might be excluded from the lower classes at first, it is a bad idea to produce it? That is equal to saying that because Cancer therapy will be excluded from the lower classes at first, we shouldn’t pursue it. It is a bad argument pure and simple.

Most of the genetic problems that exist today are not problems that “we created”. Aging, disease, death, all have always existed. Moreover, even if “we” are the problem then genetic engineering could be the solution to that as well since it could change who “we” are inherently.

Did the native Americans or Mesopotamians treat animals better than we do today? Of course not. Native Americans ate Dogs, horses, etc. commonly. And in no culture in the past did they ever have all of the laws protecting animals that we have today. How many animal rights laws did Mesopotamians have?

I argue that higher intelligence would equal better treatment of animals. I argue this because most of the animal abuse that we see today is done by uneducated ignorant people.

Certainly, there are examples of scientists mistreating animals. However, on average, Scientists are very careful to reduce suffering when they do experiments on animals.

I personally do not believe that animal testing should be done unless totally necessary.

Also, with a higher I.Q. we could easily find ways to “produce” meat without even killing animals. It is all possible, we just can’t do it yet.

I have searched the whole HGE databases and none of these places say that HGE would be single injection? Does altering your genotype into a new phenotype sound like an easy thing? That you could get at your local Walgreen’s, and walk out with a batman sticker?

No I think that things always start in the upper class, and work there way down like you have said numerous times. But, with HGE like I said it would create a bigger poverty gap. You said it would take a few decades to get to the middle class, well a generation is twenty five years. So three generations could pass before they had access to it while there richer peers look socially better, were smarter, so they could have a huggeeee advantage over the other classes. The rich would create bigger Corporatocracy’s thus creating more $20 an hour jobs for all the non-hge now grown up humans to have.

Do you think HGE would stop wars? Do you think that changing my phenotype will stop me and everyone from being greedy? Are you serious? That if some fat guy gets a new phenotype he will say “screw McDonalds, lets eat SALAD!”

I have taken an Native American culture class in college and we spent four weeks, yes… Four weeks talking about animals and spiritual dances, ceremony’s the would do for ONE bison? When was the last time you danced around and blessed, and ate every single piece of a whole animal? Nothing was wasting with them. Saying native Americans didn’t treat animals well? They treated them better because they cherished, and loved them like brothers.

1. My opponent continues to attack me, claiming I am an “elitist” and that I support cruelty to animals. Neither are true. I am not an elitist because I do not support elitism. Rather, it is true elitists will benefit short term from (ALL) technological advances, this is no argument against them. In the long term they will be available to us all. Also, animal experiments go on and will go on regardless. Should people supporting drug research be labeled as supporting animal cruelty?

Absurd.

2. I do not know how or when or in what form HGE will take. I am not a futurist. All I am arguing is that it will invariably be a good thing, in the long run.

3. It is absurd to claim that only rich people will receive genetic therapy. There will no doubt be funds for people with diseases to get it, etc. Also, I’m sure people would be more than willing to improve their entire genome if it involves taking out a loan or something. It would be an investment.

4. Yes, Our genes determine so many things including how we interact with other people. Aggression, intelligence, empathy, rational thinking, etc. Even non genetic factors would quickly be changed once genes are altered.

5. So the Native Americans danced around and worshiped the Bison. This doesn’t mean they didn’t kill it. And the Bison holds a special distinction in Native American culture, especially certain areas. They didn’t treat all animals like that either.

In summary, Genetic therapy would be a great thing for human kind. All of the bad things we humans have in us, aggression, stupidity, disease, illness, lack of empathy, etc. all have strong genetic components. Sure, Nurture has a lot to do with it but if we take care of the nature part then we are half way there. Moreover, If you closely examine them, all of Con’s arguments fall apart. Con is arguing AGAINST scientific progress for empty and pointless reasons.

2. Then how can you even debate on this topic or make a reference to that in a debate. You are just bull shitting apparently.

3. Yes like all those funds that help all the people with cancer. If those “funds” were exist there wouldn’t be people at home with stage four cancer when they could at least receive treatment.

4. So you are willing to go against nature (or god if you believe in a higher power) to be able to become more empathetic? Is that hard to love? Are you that big of a savage that you can’t control yourself or can’t learn things for yourself?

5. Yes, all animals that were killed were used fully. Of course if they killed a rat they didn’t dance around it but, they would use it all.

In summary pro has the more civil debate here. I understand that we all want to be perfect, but why not take the cards we were dealt, and succeed. Cheaters never prosper.

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Online Debate: Human genetic engineering is a good thing …

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Bioethics Of Human Genetic Engineering – Documentary Video …

Posted: September 30, 2015 at 7:44 pm

In Vivo : Selected Stories of Genetic Engineering (1996)- Robert Wyrod This experimental documentary examines the frontiers of human genetic engineering. It explores the ethical terrain of the e… | more… In Vivo : Selected Stories of Genetic Engineering (1996)- Robert Wyrod This experimental documentary examines the frontiers of human genetic engineering. It explores the ethical terrain of the emerging field of human gene therapy research and includes original interviews with the leading scientists working in this area. Director: Robert Wyrod Producer: Robert Wyrod Keywords: genetic; engineering; gene therapy; DNA; experimental; clone; molecular Contact Information: robertwyrod@gmail.com Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Human genetic engineering is the genetic engineering of humans by modifying the genotype of the unborn individual to control what traits it will possess when born.[1] Humans do not need gene therapy to survive, though it may prove helpful to treat certain diseases. Special gene modification research has been carried out on groups such as the ‘bubble children’ – those whose immune systems do not protect them from the bacteria and irritants all around them. The first clinical trial of human gene therapy began in 1990, but (as of 2008) is still experimental. Other forms of human genetic engineering are still theoretical, or restricted to fiction stories. Recombinant DNA research is usually performed to study gene expression and various human diseases. Some drastic demonstrations of gene modification have been made with mice and other animals, however; testing on humans is generally considered off-limits. In some instances changes are usually brought about by removing genetic material from one organism and transferring them into another species. There are two main types of genetic engineering. Somatic modifications involve adding genes to cells other than egg or sperm cells. For example, if a person had a disease caused by a defective gene, a healthy gene could be added to the affected cells to treat the disorder. The distinguishing characteristic of somatic engineering is that it is non-inheritable, e.g. the new gene would not be passed to the recipients offspring. Germline engineering would change genes in eggs, sperm, or very early embryos. This type of engineering is inheritable, meaning that the modified genes would appear not only in any children that resulted from the procedure, but in all succeeding generations. This application is by far the more consequential as it could open the door to the perpetual and irreversible alteration of the human species. There are two techniques researchers are currently experimenting with: Viruses are good at injecting their DNA payload into human cells and reproducing it. By adding the desired DNA to the DNA of non-pathogenic virus, a small amount of virus will reproduce the desired DNA and spread it all over the body. Manufacture large quantities of DNA, and somehow package it to induce the target cells to accept it, either as an addition to one of the original 23 chromosomes, or as an independent 24th human artificial chromosome. Human genetic engineering means that some part of the genes or DNA of a person are changed. It is possible that through engineering, people could be given more arms, bigger brains or other structural alterations if desired. A more common type of change would be finding the genes of extraordinary people, such as those for intelligence, stamina, longevity, and incorporating those in embryos. Human genetic engineering holds the promise of being able to cure diseases and increasing the immunity of people to viruses. An example of such a disease is cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects lungs and other organs. Researchers are currently trying to map out and assign genes to different body functions or disease. When the genes or DNA sequence responsible for a disease is found, theoretically gene therapy should be able to fix the disease and eliminate it permanently. However, with the complexity of interaction between genes and gene triggers, gene research is currently in its infancy. Computer modeling and expression technology could be used in the future to create people from scratch. This would work by taking existing DNA knowledge and inserting DNA of “superior” body expressions from people, such as a bigger heart, stronger muscles, etc and implanting this within an egg to be inserted into a female womb. The visual modeling of this process may be very much like the videogame Spore, where people are able to manipulate the physical attributes of creatures and then “release them” in the digital world. | less…

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Bioethics Of Human Genetic Engineering – Documentary Video …

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