British Baby to Be Breast Cancer Gene Free


A British woman will soon give birth to a baby guaranteed to be free of hereditary breast cancer. Out of 11 embryos, five were free of the breast cancer gene, and two were implanted in the mother.

The father had the gene, and his sister, mother, grandmother, and cousin all had cancer. Now, the breast cancer-causing gene has been purged from the couple's lineage. Of course the baby will be susceptible to environmental cancer-causing factors.

I worry that if genetic selection becomes widespread, we may forfeit diversity, while excluding useful genes from the pool. Of course, it makes sense that a mother chose the healthiest embryo during in vitro fertilization — I just wonder if we really know which embryo is the "healthiest" in the long run.

Is embryo screening a courageous way for parents to spare their children from painful diseases? Should the law address the moral issues accompanied with selective pregnancies? Could we end up making humans more susceptible to disease, if we manipulate the gene pool too much?

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