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Tuesday 18 May |
Saint of the Day: St. John I

Panel Approves Genetic Engineering for One Baby to Have Three Parents

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/04/16

From The Washington Post:

An elite panel of scientists and bioethicists offered guarded approval Wednesday of a novel form of genetic engineering that could prevent congenital diseases but would result in babies with genetic material from three parents. The committee, which was convened last year at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, concluded that it is ethically permissible to “go forward, but with caution” with mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRT), said the chairman, Jeffrey Kahn, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins ­University. But the advisory panel’s conclusions have slammed into a congressional ban: The omnibus fiscal 2016 budget bill passed by Congress late last year contained language prohibiting the government from using any funds to handle applications for experiments that genetically alter human embryos. Thus the green light from the scientists and ethicists won’t translate anytime soon into clinical applications that could potentially help families that want healthy babies, said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a pioneer of the new technique at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore. “It seems like the FDA is disabled in this case by Congress,” Mitalipov said. “At this point we’re still not clear how to proceed.” The FDA released a statement Wednesday saying it will carefully review the report from the advisory committee, but added that the congressional ban prohibits the agency from reviewing applications “in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification. As such, human subject research utilizing genetic modification of embryos for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease cannot be performed in the United States in FY 2016.”

Read more. 

Photo: Wikipedia

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