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UK Government Proposes Rules To Allow 'Three-Parent Embryos'

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the meet-my-nine-parents dept.

Biotech 146

sciencehabit writes "The U.K. government today issued proposed regulations that would allow researchers to try a new and controversial in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in patients. The technique could allow women who are carriers of mitochondrial disease to have healthy, genetically related children. But it also transfers DNA from one egg or embryo into another, a form of genetic alteration that could be passed on to future generations. Altering the genes of human egg cells or embryos in IVF procedures is now forbidden in the United Kingdom."

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Stranger than fiction (1)

slapout (93640) | about 9 months ago | (#46361819)

I thought the SyFy channel ran out of ideas after Sharknado. I guess not.

Re:Stranger than fiction (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 9 months ago | (#46362123)

The crazy part is... a kid with three parents may well have a hard time fitting into a legal system that assumes only two. For instance, how would the divorce issues work out (custody, support, etc)?

Also, a few others: at what point does the result stop being a lab experiment and start being a human being with the same rights as everyone else - for instance, is the kid 'patented' and therefore owned by a corporation or other entity?

Lots of sticky issues on that one...

Re:Stranger than fiction (4, Insightful)

JazzHarper (745403) | about 9 months ago | (#46362257)

Under the proposal, the donor of the egg would have no parental rights. That is logical, since mtDNA carries very little information, compared to nuclear DNA.

There is no genetic modification involved so there is no "intellectual property" vested in the DNA of the offspring. From that standpoint, this is no different from conventional in-vitro fertilization.

Re:Stranger than fiction (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 9 months ago | (#46362333)

My parents are biological objects. The concept of family has procedural meaning to me: apparently you come out of a person, or you spend much of your life with people, I haven't figured out what it is meant to specify because I've seen people refer to these isolate and my personal experience is both.

Family is like every other people you meet on the street. They're mostly annoying people you don't want to deal with; a few you might bother to go back and talk to. These particular annoying people won't go away.

I find the whole thing creepy. When I walk into my parents' house, it's like a shrine to worship me. I can immediately see 43 pictures of myself from the door, framed in fancy gold and leather. If a girl I met at a bar walked into my house and saw something like that, she would probably call the police.

Re:Stranger than fiction (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 9 months ago | (#46362623)

and this whole time I was wishing I had parents

Re:Stranger than fiction (-1, Troll)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 9 months ago | (#46362949)

For god's sake WHY? They are a limitation. I hardly recognize that OTHER people have parents because ancestral lineage is not an immediate obvious quality in people: I understand that there is a person here, not a thing that is to be judged by other persons which were present for part of this person's life. A person to me is entirely isolate from their family, and their family is as relevant as some slant eyed oriental hottie in Japan.

Re:Stranger than fiction (3)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#46363313)

For god's sake WHY?

Because most people don't feel the way you do about family.

Re:Stranger than fiction (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 9 months ago | (#46362525)

Hey, they GMO our food...why not GMO the consumers of said food?

Re:Stranger than fiction (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 9 months ago | (#46363331)

What if the donor was the woman initiating the procedure and/or bearing the child?

Re:Stranger than fiction (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 9 months ago | (#46363117)

The crazy part is... a kid with three parents may well have a hard time fitting into a legal system that assumes only two.

Tell me about it. My family tree has routing loops.

Re:Stranger than fiction (3, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#46363271)

a kid with three parents may well have a hard time fitting into a legal system that assumes only two

A kid with three legal parents, perhaps, but that's not what's being discussed.

For instance, how would the divorce issues work out (custody, support, etc)?

Surely it would be dealt with in exactly the same way as egg donation, sperm donation, adoption, surrogacy etc. The two legal parents will be the legal parents, and no-one else gets a say.

Re:Stranger than fiction (1)

quenda (644621) | about 9 months ago | (#46363743)

... a kid with three parents may well have a hard time fitting into a legal system that assumes only two.

No, the legal system has long had to deal with far more complex situations. Its not just the two biological parents who have legal standing with a child.
You have surrogates, grandparents as primary carers, parent's (gay) partner acting as parent ... All have legal rights - ( well, here, I'm not sure about Saudi Arabia or the USA.) - you do not need to be a parent to apply for custody or access rights.

Sperm donors do not go on the birth certificate, and donors of eggs without chromosomes would have even less reason.
 

at what point does the result stop being a lab experiment and start being a human being with the same rights as everyone else?

In most, countries, many such rights are acquired at the time of birth, and others at age milestones, notably 18.
Embryos and foetuses are never legal persons, so cannot have legal rights as such. It does not mean there is not a mountain of regulations protecting them.

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361825)

what could go wrong?

Re:well... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#46362035)

what could go wrong?

Plenty of things could go wrong. And it is legitimate for a government to regulate artificial reproductive techniques to ensure the procedures are reasonably safe. But it is NOT legitimate for the government to ban or interfere with individual reproductive choices because they are "immoral" or "don't seem natural". If/when these procedures are shown to be at least as safe as traditional methods of conception and childbirth, then people should be free to use them.

Re:well... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#46362111)

what could go wrong?

Plenty of things could go wrong. And it is legitimate for a government to regulate artificial reproductive techniques to ensure the procedures are reasonably safe. But it is NOT legitimate for the government to ban or interfere with individual reproductive choices because they are "immoral" or "don't seem natural". If/when these procedures are shown to be at least as safe as traditional methods of conception and childbirth, then people should be free to use them.

Why is it okay for government to ban or interfere with other choices that are immoral or don't seem natural such as rape, murder, etc.? Isn't the purpose of government to ensure the common good? While one may argue that reproductive choices are moral or immoral, drawing a distinction saying those morality choices are off limits but all of the other ones are fair game seems to imply that something other than morality is involved in the discussion.

It is a myth that society (government) can be divorced from morality. Even something as basic as a tax code is full of moral decisions. So, if reproductive choices are to be made in a moral vacuum, why not all moral choices?

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362187)

Yes but it is reasonable to ask for some explanation for why something is immoral that does not boil down to "because" or god... So we as a society generally ask for some demonstrable harm to be caused, before we declare something to be the sort of immoral act that we get the government involved to fix, rather than the icky feelings of "moral guardians". What harm can your demonstrate if it is known to be safe? how will this damage individuals or society?

Re:well... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 9 months ago | (#46362405)

Individual liberties be damned.

Re:well... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 9 months ago | (#46362577)

Isn't the purpose of government to ensure the common good?

Depends on what govt. your talking about. IN the US, the constitution basically sets up the federal govt. to have a set, small enumerated set of powers (yes, sadly we're really getting away from that)...but it should be there to keep things civil,enforce contracts, and prevent crime. But I don't see that it is there to be mommy and daddy, and say what I can or cannot do with my body or my life.

And really...how does banning this type of thing affect the common good one way or another? This is purely a decision and action by consenting adults, why should anyone else, particularly the government have a say in what they are doing here?

Re:well... (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 9 months ago | (#46362867)

Many species engage in rape as a reproductive strategy. Ducks for example. The essential hunting, restraining, and forcible penetration strategy is common across various species.

I have the actual answer for why rape is wrong because I've been able to correctly define right and wrong. This requires some explanation, but the final result will be apparent.

People seek security. In the absence of society, people are individuals with numerous natural threats from wild animals, the weather, starvation, and the like. People form society as protection from these things. If the society fails to create security--if it creates an unsafe scenario--people will again form society: revolution.

This expands into a long-winded discussion that simply comes across as thus: things are wrong when individuals are threatened by having no protection against them. You have protection against being put in jail: Don't commit crimes. Tyrannical government making illegal things which every person naturally and instinctively feels compulsion for and which does not threaten others is, thus, wrong: the society becomes threatening. Rape is wrong because the fear of being raped is a thing that people will constantly seek to escape until they form a society with rules and enforcement mechanisms to prevent rape. Murder, theft, and so on. Starvation brings crime, and thus society seeks to eliminate starvation; but wealth redistribution is also a threat to society, until there is so much wealth that almost all persons have all which they desire (Star Trek economics: post-scarcity means money is effectively meaningless because there is so much of everything including labor that all things are cheap and there is more money than purchasing demand).

Incest and bestiality are considered wrong because a group of people--a large group of people, but initially just certain puritans--believe it is immoral, and they also believe that immorality somehow threatens them. These people want control over society, and want society to not expose them to things which will not harm them but which will upset their world view; however, if society accepts those things, then in short decades most of those in society will no longer feel threatened by them. That is the difference between "immoral" and "wrong": if society allows brutal, violent rape, then in decades or centuries people still are terrified that they may at any moment be violently raped, thus society must and will change this.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362293)

what could go wrong?

Plenty of things could go wrong.

Typically, when one says "Plenty of things [X]", one follows that with a list of things that [X].

Safe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361839)

Asbestos is safe.
Smoking is safe.
Flouride is safe.
Fracking is safe.
No need to worry about some new disease from this. SARS, AIDS, CANCER, are all just fine, and not caused by those issues, nor GMO's.

Everything is safe, until there is proof that it's not. When assassins start taking executives and politicians out, then you will see it stop.

Re:Safe (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about 9 months ago | (#46361899)

Nuclear power is safe too, you just need to store your eggs and sperm under ground or encased in lead.

Re:Safe (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 months ago | (#46361927)

cancer isn't new.

back in the old days they would have called something like SARS a walking pneumonia, as sort of a catch all for a contagious pneumonia that sometimes progresses in an acute pneumonia. There could possibly been dozens of viral outbreaks like SARS in the past that we don't know about because virology didn't exist to identify the cause of such diseases. And it wasn't in fashion for doctors back then to give a collection of symptoms scary sounding acronyms.

How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (5, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 9 months ago | (#46361841)

This is a solution doesn't just allow such women to have healthy, genetically related children. It frees their lineage from the disease. Implement this fix in one generation, and the children, grandchildren, and all their progeny are disease-free.

I find it incredibly offensive to say that women should be forced to condemn their children to suffer from a preventable disease, or be prevented from bearing genetically-related children, simply because some people think the cure is "unnatural".

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1, Insightful)

aphelion_rock (575206) | about 9 months ago | (#46361907)

I can see the merit in this for removing a defective gene.
How long until people start hand picking the genes for the next super generation. The next super athlete, scientist, beauty queen...
Add in some DNA from neanderthal man and you can see what other interesting characters we could come up with for our entertainment..

Once Started, how are you going to police this?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#46361945)

You'd have a point if mitochondrial DNA did all that shit. Thing is, mitochondrial DNA doesn't so any of that shit.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 9 months ago | (#46362409)

Is the proposed law limited to mitochondrial DNA? And even if it is, how long before that restriction is lifted in another law? Once you start down this road, there's no going back. The end result is obvious: a world like Gattaca, where every unborn child will need his DNA tampered just to get a job.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362631)

I'd say there's a pretty hard line between mitchondrial DNA and the DNA that's in any way part of the 23 pairs, and it should be a pretty solid line we can draw to distinguish the difference. That said, I also thought that people would be knowledgable enough to resist the attempts to blur any potential moral difference between the use of adult and embroyonic stem cells.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 9 months ago | (#46362683)

enough of your shitty facts and pedantry....we were having a good time working up a mob until you opened your big trap

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 9 months ago | (#46362717)

Actually, mitochondria DNA does have effects on athletic performance, so there is that.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361997)

removing only recognised disease genes?
There will be temptation but for now that should be enough though, when we get better at understanding the consequences, what would be wrong with enhancement? It would require laws to prevent monoculture or stupid changes if people try to hard to chase after "ideals" and "new" genotypes will need stricter regulation too but still, assuming we can do it safely and don't let it get too out of hand how will it be worse than what already happens?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (2)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 9 months ago | (#46362431)

How long until people start hand picking the genes for the next super generation. The next super athlete, scientist, beauty queen...

I honestly don't care if they do.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 9 months ago | (#46362619)

How long until people start hand picking the genes for the next super generation. The next super athlete, scientist, beauty queen...

And, what exactly would be wrong with that? People try to do the best for their kids after they're born...why should they not try to do so BEFORE they're born too? If I could help to ensure my prodigy was smart, healthy, athletic, why in the world would I try for anything less for them?

Heck, if you're one that believes in God (and I do), you have to believe he gave us the brain power to figure this stuff out, and use it, no?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361949)

I find it incredibly offensive to say that women should be forced to condemn their children to suffer from a preventable disease,

Then don't have kids. It's still an elective choice.

or be prevented from bearing genetically-related children, simply because some people think the cure is "unnatural".

By its very definition of how it's done is unnatural and the long term consequences to the gene pool unknown.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362059)

Please stop breathing. You're asking someone else to stop one of the basic impetuses of life....its reasonable to ask you to do so in return isn't it?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362095)

Can you explain why it should be bad because it is unnatural?

In this case the permitted technique is very narrow in what it can do, the consequences are no more unknown than other types of straightforward fertility treatment. I can see no way that it would have any real long term effects on the gene pool other than a slightly quicker elimination of genetic variants that will already eventually be eliminated, so why do you care?

Can you see any reason why it should or could even cause problems? how?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 9 months ago | (#46362699)

One would argue it is all natural if you were watching all of this happen from a half million miles away

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 9 months ago | (#46362101)

Then don't have kids. It's still an elective choice.

That's a sad excuse for "choice," especially when a solution is readily available.

By its very definition of how it's done is unnatural

So is clothing.

and the long term consequences to the gene pool unknown.

The gene pool would be unchanged because what's happening is a mechanical repackaging of the genetic material with non-defective mitochondria.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 9 months ago | (#46362131)

Air conditioning is unnatural, but people don't have a problem with that. In the medical domain, organ transplants are unnatural but people don't generally have problems with that, either. Why do you care so much about this particular procedure and not about all the other "unnatural" things that exist in the everyday life of a human? Why is it okay to transplant an organ, but not a piece of DNA? Doesn't the organ contain DNA?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 9 months ago | (#46363391)

Those unnatural things are adapted to our nature (generally poorly) while DNA manipulation can change our nature to something indeterminate. Even in this minor first step are the kids going to have three parents legally responsible for them, or is up to government going to make the determination? If lab makes a mistake can the artificial baby be sent back to be destroyed?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

dpryan (123256) | about 9 months ago | (#46364067)

DNA isn't being manipulated. The nuclei are just swapped. Mitochondrial DNA is physically separate from the rest of your DNA. This is a very non-slippery slope.

Regarding parental rights, the women donating the egg sans-nucleus has no parental rights, which would seem reasonable. Of course that's up to the government, all parental rights in a society are governed by that society via its government. If a lab makes a mistake, then presumably the unfertilized eggs would be destroyed. If by that question you meant if there was a mixup in the lab, then presumably it'd be identical to any other IVF case where there's a mixup (apparently this has happened, though people don't usually end up finding that out until the kid is born).

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1, Insightful)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 9 months ago | (#46362437)

I find it incredibly offensive to say that women should be forced to condemn their children to suffer from a preventable disease,

Then don't have kids. It's still an elective choice.

or be prevented from bearing genetically-related children, simply because some people think the cure is "unnatural".

By its very definition of how it's done is unnatural and the long term consequences to the gene pool unknown.

How about you don't have kids? We don't need any more AC trolls in the world.

We started messing with the "gene pool" when we started giving people things like glasses, surgery, antibiotics, and immunizations to enhance their lives.

Most people will have children regardless. Your stance is effectively condemning those children to a diseased life.

My elective choice would be to take all the people like you, ship them to an island that was devoid of any modern medicine, and let you "evolve" naturally. Enjoy dying at 35!

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

gIobaIjustin (3553761) | about 9 months ago | (#46362497)

By its very definition of how it's done is unnatural and the long term consequences to the gene pool unknown.

Humans are part of nature. There is literally nothing we can do that is "unnatural." Furthermore, what is "unnatural" is not necessarily bad; that's just a fallacy.

Medicine Unnatural (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 9 months ago | (#46362613)

By its very definition of how it's done is unnatural and the long term consequences to the gene pool unknown.

By that definition so is just about every medical treatment or procedure ever devised. Any treatment that cures someone and lets them live long enough to reproduce affects the gene pool this include vaccines, antibiotics etc. Indeed you could argue that this problem is itself unnatural since many people with genetic diseases would not live long enough to reproduce in the natural world. So, unless you want to argue that we are better off without any medicine we are already tampering with the gene pool and an increase in genetic disease is likely one consequence. So surely the logical response is to use medicine to cure this problem by getting rid of the defective genes which medicine allowed into the gene pool in the first place?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46363215)

Our entire god damn society is unnatural. Go back to your damn cave already and let the rest of humanity reach the stars.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (2)

offrdbandit (1331649) | about 9 months ago | (#46361969)

Because this one procedure is the ONLY way for someone with this type of condition to have healthy children, right? I guess you're just pretending egg donation and adoption don't exist so you can climb on the high horse for a second?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362003)

Some people would prefer to have their own children rather than somebody else's children. As you point out, I can grab somebody else's children off the street any time I want.

Ob car analogy: Lots of people like to buy cars, even though taxis exist!

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 9 months ago | (#46362245)

I can grab somebody else's children off the street any time I want.

I think I get what you were going for here, but you came off as a seriously creepy AC by phrasing it this way....

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#46362745)

And? It's ANOTHER way to have children. Bonus, there children will be healthier to, and so.
Clearly this woman want to have a child with her genes. It's almost like she's some sort of a mammal

Just so you know, you are the one on the high horse. You might want to look up what that means.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361995)

Jeez, I wish you were a preventable disease.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (3, Informative)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about 9 months ago | (#46362049)

Or, you know, NOT having children also eliminates the perpetuation of a disease. All genetically-inherited diseases, in fact. Why some people think this planet is in such dire need of more inhabitants that they'd go to lengths such as these just blows my mind. Absolutely feel the need to raise a child? Please adopt. There are plenty of children out there that would love to have a permanent, loving home. Same goes for animals. Before we bring more life into this world, we need to address the suffering of those who are already here.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 9 months ago | (#46362139)

Or, you know, NOT having children also eliminates the perpetuation of a disease.

Or we could solve the problem instead of simply going "oh you should just not have children."

Why some people think this planet is in such dire need of more inhabitants that they'd go to lengths such as these just blows my mind.

Because it's an inherent drive in most living creatures. Feel free to start with yourself, however.

Before we bring more life into this world, we need to address the suffering of those who are already here.

Addressing the suffering of those who are here has no bearing on bringing in more life, nor are they mutually exclusive.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

gIobaIjustin (3553761) | about 9 months ago | (#46362549)

I have no problem with things like this, but...

Because it's an inherent drive in most living creatures. Feel free to start with yourself, however.

Already have. Now, if only the unintelligent masses would follow. We really don't need anywhere close to 7 billion people on this planet.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#46362685)

" if only the other unintelligent masses would follow."
FIFY

" We really don't need anywhere close to 7 billion people on this planet."
based on..what?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 9 months ago | (#46363071)

FIFY

Yeah, I never even saw that coming.

based on..what?

Based on simple logic. We have enough trash and orphans as it is.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 9 months ago | (#46362669)

Absolutely feel the need to raise a child? Please adopt.

Yeah, but if you do that, it is SO damned hard to get them to look like you as they grow up...

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 9 months ago | (#46362749)

These children wouldn't exactly be like their parents either, that's the point.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

fishybell (516991) | about 9 months ago | (#46363111)

This sidesteps the issue. Yes, adoption is an option for some, but not all. The cost and legal requirements can be quite high, whereas this is medical procedure to fix a disease (really prevent), potentially covered by insurance or a universal healthcare system. You're advocating the idea that those less affluent can only have genetically disease free kids if they themselves are free of genetic disease.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about 9 months ago | (#46363677)

You're advocating the idea that those less affluent can only have genetically disease free kids if they themselves are free of genetic disease.

No, I'm advocating that everyone take a step back and ask "does the world really need another mouth to feed?", regardless of genetic suitability. Deciding not to have a child because it may be afflicted by a genetically inherited condition, in my opinion, is a noble choice. Spending $$$ on a method to circumvent this natural limitation just so you can have a brand new little copy of yourself seems a bit selfish. The more diseases we cure, the more babies we have, the longer we extend natural lifespans, the closer we get to resource scarcity. Take a look at places in the third world with rampant disease and famine. It's not because god hates them or they're unlucky, it's in part because they're producing more mouths than the land can feed. We will some day reach that point as well, but we shouldn't just go running full speed towards it because we all feel some biological need to reproduce. That's what sets us apart from the animals, right? The ability to reason and think about the consequences of our actions, and plan accordingly?

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362055)

I think the counterargument to your offense at people objecting based upon a subjective sense of "unnatural" is probably that, indeed, it is subjective and it is equally subjective to claim those objecting to your stance shouldn't outright kill you as their response.

Neither Darwin, nor anything you can name, gives the slightest actual meaningful objection to them doing so.

At that point, we might start to consider possibilities for sources of objective authority that might provide actual resolution to these matters.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#46362171)

Caution when it comes to heritable changes should be the default mode. Thalidomide provides a good example of why "Sure, try it on unborn children and see what happens" should not be the default. But certainly TRIALS should be allowed if animal studies don't provide any reason to think we're going to create Parasite Eve or create new heritable diseases.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362323)

The animal models are not the most promising. Many of the animals showed behavioral problems who this treatment was tested on. Also, of the 11 kids that where born with this treatment two of them had a very rare disorder. Now, it's possible it was just bad luck or that this treatment has a high risk of creating that disorder. Unfortunately, am having trouble digging through all the press releases on Google at the moment.

The problem I think comes down to that mitochondrial DNA has muted/evolved along side with regular DNA, and we don't know enough about the interaction between the two to make smart choices about who is a suitable mitochondrial donor and who isn't. Am guessing it would be possible to sequence the donor's and the mother's mitochondrial DNA and pick someone who has as close a match as possible but without having the disorder. Main factor here would be cost.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

fulldecent (598482) | about 9 months ago | (#46362463)

Sure... until you find out 400 years later that the new gene has a self destruct sequence.

Or worse, patent law follows the trend of copyright law in the US and half the population ends up owing royalties for the genes they were born with.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#46362673)

"until you find out 400 years later that the new gene has a self destruct sequence."
MORBO: "THAT IS NOT HOW GENES WORK!"

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46363343)

Or worse, patent law follows the trend of copyright law in the US and half the population ends up owing royalties for the genes they were born with.

We should also stop allowing black people to reproduce just in case at some point in the future people decide to bring back slavery.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362983)

Of course, if it becomes popular, then it reduces overall genetic diversity.

Perhaps they should be required to back up the mitochondrial dna.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 9 months ago | (#46363197)

It frees their lineage from the disease.

It's a slippery slope. So we allow them to prevent this disease. What gets defined as a disease next? Genetic predisposition to heart disease? Sounds great. We'd probably allow it if we had already allowed them to deal with the disease being discussed here, right? And if heart disease, then why not genetic predispositions to high cholesterol as well? It only makes sense. What about cancers? Surely we'd deal with any susceptibilities to those too, right?

But at a certain point you start to get into diseases that are either specific to or identified with specific races, cultures, or segments of society. Should we get rid of gingers because their genetics render them more susceptible to a variety of skin cancers such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma? Should we allow insurers to offer discounts to people with better genetics? Should we (or will we be required to) disqualify those with worse genetics from participating in some activities, on account of their increased susceptibility to injury or illness? What about mission critical activities, where someone with "inferior" genetics is not expected to perform as well? Do we treat people with "inferior" genetics as having a handicap?

TL;DR: Go watch Gattaca [wikipedia.org] .

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 9 months ago | (#46363619)

I find it shortsighted to believe that an experimental fertilization method that's never born a single child should be allowed without testing.

I'm all about personal liberty, but safety needs to be a concern too. If the doctors can demonstrate that this method is at least as safe as normal IVF (safe for the parents AND potential child) then have at it, but until then, let's temper our excitement

I'd also tread very carefully around what looks and sounds like a potential new form of eugenics.

Re:How DARE you propose NOT to allow this? (1)

Noishkel (3464121) | about 9 months ago | (#46364121)

Well the only thing I'd personally worry about is if these changes result in stable and healthy genetics. I'm not really up on the latest in genetic research but I didn't know that we were at the point where science could move in to selectively excise 'bad' genes and insert health DNA. The last time I even looked into genetic engineering involved the science of GMO crops. And at that time there we just hammering random DNA into cells until they could get a cell that didn't automatically die.

Maybe it works since you're not trying to insert completely random DNA into the mix. But until we see some solid results with a high precentage of success I'll remain skeptical and be against it. But here's hoping it does work. I'm actually pretty interested in a lot of trans humanist concepts. (as long as they're all voluntary, that is.) So I say keep on working on it. But hold off on trying to push it out until we have some good results in the lab.

Child Support Nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361843)

SO .. will the third parent be asked to pay child support by the court?

Re:Child Support Nightmare (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | about 9 months ago | (#46361915)

DNA testing would see the parentage of the third doner without specialized testing. Mitochondrial DNS are ONLY passed to offspring by their mothers, and given the procedure, there will still be a "DNS" mother involved, insuring that a reasonable set of parents can still be determined using the normal procedures. Not a nightmare at all.

Re:Child Support Nightmare (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46362335)

DNA testing would see the parentage of the third doner without specialized testing. Mitochondrial DNS are ONLY passed to offspring by their mothers, and given the procedure, there will still be a "DNS" mother involved, insuring that a reasonable set of parents can still be determined using the normal procedures. Not a nightmare at all.

One annoyance, for a select group, would be that such offspring would toast the assumptions behind mitochondrial inheritance modeling(since you always get the mitocondria from mommy, and the thing still has nearly as much independent genome as it did in its free-living days, mitochondrial DNA is a good trick for tracking maternity over historical time, similar to the use of Y chromosomes for historical paternity tracking.

If some kid suddenly shows up with a random(but functional) stranger's mitochondrial DNA, rather than their mother's defective stuff, they and their descendants will give some future anthropologists a dose of Extra Challenge Mode.

free the mitochondria! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46363455)

the thing still has nearly as much independent genome as it did in its free-living days

Is it right that the Eukaryote races have enslaved this hardworking powerhouse bacterial entity? What about the rights of each mitochondrion to free-living? Oh yeah, it's a bacterium. It doesn't have rights.

Re:Child Support Nightmare (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#46361925)

No, because the UK isn't Kansas.

Re:Child Support Nightmare (1)

slew (2918) | about 9 months ago | (#46363159)

No, because the UK isn't Kansas.

No, but they have their own mess going on there in the CSA (child support agency)... Apparently earning its own level of bureaucratic hell [csahell.com] ...

Re:Child Support Nightmare (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46362283)

SO .. will the third parent be asked to pay child support by the court?

I suspect that a lawyer would advise against this; but I would be sorely tempted to point out that anyone who thinks that providing a lifetime supply of mitochondria that actually make it to the 'ATP' part of the job isn't 'child support' in a sense that makes anything after the invention of currency look like trivial stamp collecting, they are welcome to explore this hypothesis with the assistance of such obliging simulations of mitochondrial defects as cynanide, 2,4-dinitrophenol, or Flavotoxin A. Should they be available for comment afterward, I suspect they would prove... more agreeable.

If anything, in this particular arrangment, it's that deadbeat jerkoff who managed to provide a whole sperm cell who should get out the checkbook(especially if kiddo is a girl, and not even exploiting the otherwise unavailable properties of having a Y chromosome...).

Frosty (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361845)

SO you mean to tell me that researchers have found a way to pass genetic material into the uterus through the walls of the rectum? How is this done without double-penetration?

Only makes sense if it is 2 gays and a straight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46361971)

Because 2 straights and a gay makes no sense at all.

mod 03p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362031)

Frankinfoetus (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 9 months ago | (#46362065)

How's that genetic dice-roll doin' for ya?  Gotchr 3rd eye yet .., the one that sees bash_script written in lemon-juice? Better make shur there's a LGBT gene  pimped ... er pumped in there somehow or the nanciboiz gonna howl. 

This is not the threesome... (1)

dsmoses (653429) | about 9 months ago | (#46362093)

you were looking for!

I want Pizza (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362143)

Julius Benedict: You moved too soon.
Burt Klane: [confused] What?
Julius Benedict: The second rule in the crisis situation.
Morris Klane: Uh oh, he's starting that funny talk again.
Julius Benedict: If you choose to bluff, you must be prepared to have your bluff called.
Burt Klane: This is no bluff.

#

Laura Kinney: [to Doug#4 thinking he's her husband] Please, just tell me what it is that you want.

Doug Kinney #4: I want Pizza.

Evil (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 9 months ago | (#46362195)

Supremely selfish and cruel thing to do without even the remotest understanding of the potential consequences.

What if this leaves the child diseased or crippled with some kind of birth defect? Or that child's children?

Experimenting on human beings who have no say in the procedure in order to satisfy some ambitious ego is nothing more than an expression of pure evil.

(Yes I realize this is high blasphemy against the holy church of science and that it will be modded -1 "Heathen" I don't care. It needs to be said)

Re:Evil (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 9 months ago | (#46362379)

What if this leaves the child diseased or crippled with some kind of birth defect? Or that child's children?

That's what this will prevent.

This isn't "Hey, let's try this for no particular reason". This is a means of (at least hypothetically) preventing heritable mitocondrial disorders, such as Leigh syndrome.

Re:Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362547)

What if iPads also lead to "some kind of birth defects" ? You went full retard.

Re:Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362563)

So I take it you've had a full genetic screening, and your mate (if you have one) will undergo the same?

You're then going to have a team of crack geneticists analyze the potential mishaps?

Yeah, I thought not. You have no standing. Shut the hell up.

Re:Evil (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 9 months ago | (#46362667)

The burden of proof is not on me to justify the safety of biological reproduction.

Re:Evil (1)

Megane (129182) | about 9 months ago | (#46362799)

Actually, you should be modded -1, Kneejerk. Seems to me this is not about "Heather has two mommies and a daddy", but specifically to avoid known expected birth defects due to bad mitochondrial DNA in the mother.

Mitochondrial DNA is exclusively inherited from one parent, the mother in humans. Swap out the known bad stuff for some other woman's known good stuff, and Bab's your aunt.

Mitochondrial DNA#Female_inheritance [wikipedia.org]

Re:Evil (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 9 months ago | (#46362915)

Then you burn the defective thing.

Sad day... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 9 months ago | (#46362213)

This new technology is an affront to our traditional three-parent conception model!

Re:Sad day... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 9 months ago | (#46362921)

Your girlfriend's into that huh?

genetic contributor - not parent (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 9 months ago | (#46362235)

It really should be not a parent but a genetic information contributor. If it is parent they have an extra target for child support.

However if they do make it parent then I want my probiotic yogurt maker listed as my parent and years of support payments. I am linking the bacteria are a large part of our component body to this notion that a supplier of genetic materials becomes financially liable for care.

Re:genetic contributor - not parent (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#46362657)

since probiotic yogurt does nothing, then you want have much of a case. IT's all dead before it gets to your intestine.

Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46362315)

Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger

"Forget the $16 billion romance between Facebook and WhatsApp. There's a new messaging tool worth watching[1].

Tor[2], the team behind the world's leading online anonymity service, is developing a new anonymous instant messenger client, according to documents[3] produced at the Tor 2014 Winter Developers Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland."

http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

[1] http://www.dailydot.com/techno... [dailydot.com]
[2] https://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org]
[3] https://trac.torproject.org/pr... [torproject.org]

excellent (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#46362629)

a great opportunity for women like that.
Also a great step forward to removing genetic diseases from the gene pool.

There is no shortage of humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46363141)

If only people with such conditions had the for-sight simply to remove themselves from the gene pool(Don't have kids).

We are 'eating' ourselves out of a clean environment. We speak all we want about being environmentally responsible and thats fine and dandy but the real problem is our numbers.

I dont' speak of food resources alone, but everything we take to build/live.

One step closer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46363203)

to creating Time Lords...

No big deal (3, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#46363351)

My DNA is already a mis-mash of genes from millions of ancestors. What would one more matter?

GATTACA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46363509)

nt

Just like the visitors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46364169)

Speaking of which, does anyone else hate the new "alien nation" rip-off as much as me?
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