Follow Up Opinion: New Scientific Technique Yields 3-Parent Baby

Follow Up Opinion: New Scientific Technique Yields 3-Parent Baby

A few weeks ago, I wrote a news article discussing a successful procedure that produced a 3-parent baby. As news of this occurrence became more popular, many massively popular websites, such as Drudge Report, began posting links to news and opinion articles written for major news outlets. As with remotely controversial event, writers from across a spectrum of opinions began commenting on the United States policy on mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT). I felt that it was important to follow up on my recent news brief with a discussion on my opinion regarding the subject

    Just recently, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine were tasked with developing a comprehensive study of the ethical considerations of the study of MRT and similar procedures. The group of researchers determined that clinical investigations are ethically sound as long as a rigid set of rules is followed.

    As our capability to alter the genetic composition of a developing fetus improves, the United States needs to revise its current modification laws. The United Kingdom has changed the definitions of various terms that played a significant  role in defining the legality of MRT. For example, “germline” now only refers to genetically inheritable material. Other different distinctions have been made that allow MRT to be performed without changing the current law.

    According to many professionals, MRT could be used to treat a variety of fertility and heritable genetic issues. As this form of treatment could produce positive results on a massive scale, I feel that the United States has no choice but to revisit some of its more dated restrictions on genetic modification and potentially change some of the language. The survey conducted by the academies provided the ethical groundwork for this change, now it is time for Washington to continue it.

 

References:

Korioth, Trisha. "AAP National Conference: Ethics, Safety of ‘3-parent Embryo’ Technique Examined." AAP News and Journals Gateway. October 25, 2016. Accessed October 27, 2016. http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/10/25/Bioethics102516.

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