Scientists Receive Approval to Genetically Engineer Human Embryos

February 4, 2016   |   Derrick Broze

Derrick Broze
February 4, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) London, England — While many people are focused on the effects of genetically engineered food, concerns over genetically modified human embryos are also growing — and some fear the technology could lead to the creation of “designer babies.”

Reuters reports that “Less than a year after Chinese scientists caused an international furor by saying they had genetically modified human embryos, Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist from London’s Francis Crick Institute, was granted a license to carry out similar experiments.

“‘The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has approved a research application from the Francis Crick Institute to use new “gene editing” techniques on human embryos,’ Niakan’s lab said on Monday.”

The research will focus on “the first seven days of a fertilized egg’s development, from a single cell to around 250 cells.” The team will not be allowed to implant the embryos in any women. Kathy Niakan has also stated she has no intention to genetically alter embryos for human reproduction. Niakan says she wants to deepen the scientific understanding of how a healthy human embryo develops.

Reuters notes Niakan will use a technique known as CRISPR-Cas9. CRISPR allows scientists to find and modify or replace genetic defects. The technique has been the subject of debate over whether the technology will lead to ethical or moral dilemmas in the pursuit of knowledge.

David King, director of the U.K. campaign group Human Genetics Alert, says he worries the research could eventually lead to “a future of consumer eugenics.

This research will allow the scientists to refine the techniques for creating GM babies,” he told Reuters.

Sarah Norcross, director of Progress Educational Trust — an organization focused on supporting ethically sound research and practice in genetics and embryo/stem cell research — disagrees with critics. Norcross said the approval of the embryo study was “a victory for level-headed regulation over moral panic.

The news of genetically engineered human embryos and gene editing is reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It is also a theme in the 1997 film, Gattaca. In Gattaca, we see a future version of our world where genes decide one’s place in society. The practice amounts to an essential caste system. In this world, the wealthy and elite can afford to engineer their children and remove any possible “defects.” Those who are deemed genetically inferior are called “in-valids.” The film touches on genetic engineering, eugenics, and the moral implications of playing God with human life. Both Gattaca and Brave New World offer thought-provoking explanations of this new, growing reality.

What are your thoughts? Do the potential benefits of this research outweigh the possible costs? Should humanity pursue designer babies? Leave your comments below.


This article (Scientists Receive Approval to Genetically Engineer Human Embryos) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Derrick Broze and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Lunar Caustic. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Derrick Broze

Derrick Broze joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include solutions to the police state, the surveillance state, economic inequality, attacks on Native communities, and oppression in all its forms. He was born in Houston, Texas.

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11 Comments

  1. Its going to happen its technology and technology allways presses forward. The only argument is baised on morality and religion but even from a religious perspective god created man in his image. We have his ability to create thats what makes us human this is just the next step and its inevitable the people of the future will be modified optimized and supprior to us today. This technology can create the elimitation of deseases and put us on a better path for humanity. Although it will deffinitaly create the class segrigation (at first) speculated in the article because it will be expensive at first like all technology. Although over time it may be as normal as an ultrasound.

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  3. ᴍʏ Fʀɪᴇɴᴅ's ᴍᴏᴍ ᴍᴀᴋᴇs $73 ʜᴏᴜʀʟʏ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ . Sʜᴇ ʜᴀs ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏғ ᴀ ᴊᴏʙ ғᴏʀ 7 ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ʙᴜᴛ ʟᴀsᴛ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴡᴀs $20864 ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ғᴇᴡ ʜᴏᴜʀs.
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  4. ᴍʏ Fʀɪᴇɴᴅ's ᴍᴏᴍ ᴍᴀᴋᴇs $73 ʜᴏᴜʀʟʏ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ . Sʜᴇ ʜᴀs ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏғ ᴀ ᴊᴏʙ ғᴏʀ 7 ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ʙᴜᴛ ʟᴀsᴛ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴡᴀs $20864 ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ғᴇᴡ ʜᴏᴜʀs.
    ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴍʏ sᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ:———>>

    https://www.facebook.com/USA-Work-514589588666221/?ref=s&sk=app_190322544333196

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  5. ᴍʏ Fʀɪᴇɴᴅ's ᴍᴏᴍ ᴍᴀᴋᴇs $73 ʜᴏᴜʀʟʏ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ . Sʜᴇ ʜᴀs ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏғ ᴀ ᴊᴏʙ ғᴏʀ 7 ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ʙᴜᴛ ʟᴀsᴛ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴡᴀs $20864 ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ғᴇᴡ ʜᴏᴜʀs.
    ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴍʏ sᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ:———>>

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  6. Daniel this is not about technology or religion, this is about HUMAN LIFE, LIFE CONTINUITY AND THE EVENTUAL EXTINCTION of that humanity by twisted, ambitious mutant males attempting to replace the god they deny because they want to BE A GOD! And have no accountability for their actions. The majority of those pushing this agenda are MALES who not only cannot reproduce themselves and must use females and their eggs to do it, but are due to your failing male sex chromosomes, responsible for 36 out of 39 major cancers and diseases affecting males and females, and most of the STD’s now at epidemic levels in growing numbers of human and animal populations. You males are dying genetically, although you deny it. Your Y chromosomes are degenerating. You are hypermutated and passing those hypermutations on to future generations of children, which with only a few exceptions among you, you don’t deserve. Your hyper-androgenic behavior has spread war and aggression all over the planet until the earth itself is facing ecobiological extinction. And now your war on the female and her eggs extends into what you call “technology,” but which is actually war on the female reproductive ability, as it has been from the very beginning. At your core matrix you are jealous of the female and her life-giving abilities; so much so you have through centuries abused, manipulated, sexually exploited, enslaved and dominated her, and now you are attempting to steal and genetically re-engineer her eggs since you have none of your own, not because you want to save lives (you always hide behind some noble imperative) but because you want to extend your own lives through embryonic regeneration. You can’t BECOME HER as you have tried to do, so you want to take her seed and modify it. Curses on these genetic rapists masquerading as scientists. May they never prosper in this life or the next for what they are doing to the innocents. And yes, I’m a scientist, a researcher and a mother! My lot is cast with the children who have no voice in their future!

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  7. Evelyn Fields Khelama Evelyn Fields Khelama okay a few things here… 1. While I agree all patriarchal societies have done terrible things to women and continually do so. I personally take pride in women and their gift to our society I respect them fully and view them as equals in all respects so yours personal attracts are unfounded. 2. If you’re crazy rant is founded in any truth you prove the point of why genetic manipulation will be needed in the future. 3. Christian Science doesn’t count as real science….

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