Molecular Bio Project (1)

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By: Angela Li
“DESIGNER BABIES”:
GENETICALLY MODIFIED BABIES
First Genetically Modified Babies
 In China two healthy baby girls were born after Professor
He Jiankui used gene altering technology to make them
resistant to HIV (Gabbatiss, 2018)
 He inserted a protein with “instructions for a gene
surgery” into the fertilized eggs (India Today, 2018)
 He says that the gene he removed was called CCR5
 It allows HIV to enter a cell
 Since he took it out, HIV can never infect these babies
What is this technology?
Gene editing is using
technology to permanently
alter a genetic sequence. It can
be done in all living organisms,
including humans, but this is
the first time it has been done
on embryos. Before this, gene
editing was only done on
adults and so the mutations
could not be inherited in future
generations. (Gabbatiss, 2018)
Whom will this hurt/help?
 Gene editing embryos will help potential babies
that would be born with an illness or other
condition
 They will be able to have better lives by being
healthier than if they did not get modified genes
 It may hurt people who get it in the future
because genes sometimes have more than one
function
 A geneticist Mazhar Adli worries that removing the
CCR5 gene will cause more problems because it is
linked to white blood cell production (Saplakoglu,
2018)
What regulations are in place
in Canada for this technology?
 Using this gene modification technology in
this way is illegal in Canada, UK and the USA
(Gabbatiss, 2018).
 It is illegal in these countries to modify a human
embryo
 In China it is okay though because they do not
consider human cloning illegal
My Opinion
 In my opinion this is very useful technology. Dr.
He said because China has an HIV problem, he
wanted to create technology that would help
protect children from the virus and let people
who have HIV still have babies. This technology
could be useful in pulling out genes for diseases
that other people have like the BRCA1 and
BRCA2 genes for breast cancer. People might be
upset about this because they do not know what
will happen if we edit our genes, but I think if we
can improve our genes by removing diseases,
human beings will ultimately suffer less and live
better lives.
What is the impact of this technology on
society?
This technology might change the way humans
treat disease by using prevention instead of
treatment. It holds tremendous power because
before this, people did not have a method to
change embryos so that they will be an improved
version of themselves. However, if this technology
is not used responsibly and with a lot of additional
research, we might have babies born that
eventually develop serious defects. These defects
would cause more harm than good to society
because people would have to find new ways to
treat them.
Course of Action
A practical course of action would be to continue to do
research in this field. However, I think to avoid having the
problem of babies being born with inheritable defects,
they can use animals instead. For example, a rat would be
a good candidate because they reproduce often, and have
a shorter time before they reach adulthood. So genes that
are similar between humans and rats could be compared
based on the testing done on rats.
References
 Gabbatiss, J. (2018). World's first genetically altered babies born in
China, scientist claims. Retrieved from
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-babiesgenetically-edited-altered-twins-scientist-dna-crispr-a8651536.html
 Lulu and Nana: First genetically modified babies born in China,
researcher says. (2018). Retrieved from
https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/first-genetically-modifiedbabies-china-he-jiankui-1396429-2018-11-26
 Saplakogu, Y. (2018). Gene-Edited Babies Reportedly Born in China.
What Could Go Wrong?. Retrieved from
https://www.livescience.com/64166-first-genetically-modifiedbabies-risks.html
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