Will gene edit­ing lead to su­per kids?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

FEARS have been raised that the gene-edit­ing break­through un­veiled in the US could lead to de­signer ba­bies.

That is be­cause the nu­clear DNA at the heart of a cell, which these sci­en­tists tweaked, also de­ter­mines per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

This raises the prospect of ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered “su­per­heroes” who are made to be more ath­letic or ex­tra in­tel­li­gent at the re­quest of their par­ents.

Sci­en­tists say de­signer ba­bies are a step closer fol­low­ing the break­through. How­ever, the re­searchers have edited only a sin­gle gene so far, us­ing a tech­nique which has still to be proved to work in ba­bies, rather than just em­bryos.

Traits such as in­tel­li­gence and strength are de­ter­mined by mul­ti­ple genes, mean­ing su­per­hero chil­dren are not likely to hap­pen soon.

But ex­perts say this idea is now no longer science fic­tion and some lab­o­ra­to­ries might feel pres­sure in fu­ture to try to tweak chil­dren’s eye colour and height. – Daily Mail

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