Advancement in genetics and reproductive technologies have today allowed the doctors and parents to screen in vitro fertilized embryos for genetic diseases and select the healthiest of them all. The article, Infant Possibilities by Moyer, puts forth the possibilities of future babies with several glimpses of the works done by doctors and scientists to save the neonates from disorders possibly caused due to single gene mutations. Scientists have got the success in analysing genomes of the babies or new born ones so that specialists can search for all the potential genetic causes of diseases affecting neonates and that too in just 50 hours span.
Scientists have recently made speedy advancements in their knowledge of the human genome and their capability to transfer and change genes. According to Moyer, this has given them an opportunity to cure genetically caused diseases in the future in the neonates and even in embryos by the procedure of replacing faulting sections of genome or DNA with healthy parts of the DNA. This procedure is known as germ line therapy and is conducted on eggs, sperms and even on a fertilized embryo. Moyer argues that if there is any change possible in the genetic makeup at the embryo phase then it is feared that scientists will be able to make use of genetic technologies for modifying embryos and choosing the desirable cosmetic characters in babies such as sex, blue eyes, brown hair and color of skin. But this is still not accepted by many parts of the world. As the process is extremely expensive, this privilege can only be availed by couples who can easily afford this technological advancement. This has given rise to a debatable situation that focuses on the future competition between the designer babies possessing advantageous traits and the naturally produced babies who will surely be inferior in their genetic makeup.
In my opinion, I am bit wary on gene testing and editing on the genome of human embryos just for designing the babies but this technology advancement is for sure untill now the best as it presents the possibilities of curing or rather removing the genes of diseases in embryonic stage. However, this is for sure that genetically enhanced babies are inevitable in the future. I do not share Moyer`s vision for the future. I feel that the ‘future normal ones’ should not show their despair even if they are outmatched by the upcoming generation of designer humans. This is thanks to the science has opened the avenues of more advancements where a host of technologies right from chip implantations to gene therapy would permit the normal humans to transform and enhance themselves genetically. I think the future will be interesting as it is significantly guided by scientific advancements. If I am given a chance and I could afford to get a designer baby, I will surely go for this opportunity not because I would want a child for blue eyes or particular sex, rather I will prefer a designer child who is healthy genetic makeup-wise so that he or she has got this advantage of not acquiring any genetic disease in his/her life. So the only attribute I would be choosing would be health issues.
Looking at the human genome product, scientists have successfully found out the genetic cause of Alzheimer Disease. Familial Alzheimer Disease-1 is caused genetically by the mutation in gene that encodes the amyloid precursor protein, i.e., APP;104760 on the chromosome number 21q (Mok 1513-e1). Actually, the disease is caused by only one of the any single gene mutation on the chromosome numbers 1, 14 and 21. Alzheimer Disease is one of the most common forms of dementia in case of elderly people. The disease is actually a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by neuropathologic outcomes of extracellular amyloid plaques and intracellular NFT or neurofibrillary tangles in those brain regions that are vulnerable (Mok 1513-e1). Alzheimer disease demonstrates genetically heterogeneous disorder where AD-1 is associated with chromosome 21q, AD-2 with chromosome 19; APOE*4 allele (107741), AD-3 is caused by mutation in the gene presenilin-1 on chromosome 14q and AD-4 is caused by mutation on 1q31 locus of PSEN2 gene (Mok 1513-e1).
There are quite number of research works underway on the genetics of the Alzheimer Disease. There is an Alzheimer Disease Genetics Study Program conducted by National Institute of Aging supported by Research Medical Centre, Kansas City where large number of information (of about 1000 families where two or more members have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) is being gathered and analysed genetically for studying chromosome 21q (Cacabelos, Ramón, and Rocío Martínez‐Bouza 566-576). National Cell Repository for Alzheimer Disease is storing a great amount of DNA samples and clinical information for making them available for further analysis of genes in embryos so that such possibilities are created that any mutated gene is transformed with healthy gene (Cacabelos, Ramón, and Rocío Martínez‐Bouza 566-576).
Research holds a great significance in genetic engineering as it has brought about new hopes in eliminating the chances of acquiring deadly diseases by the new kids on the block and even before they are born. However, the researchers have to face several challenges including resistance of religious institutions and NGOs.
Moyer, Melinda Wenner. “Infant Possibilities.” Popular Science, 2014. Web. 21 June 2015 < http://www.popsci.com/article/science/infant-possibilities.
Mok, Kin Y., et al. "Polymorphisms in BACE2 may affect the age of onset Alzheimer's dementia in Down syndrome." Neurobiology of aging 35.6 (2014): n.
Cacabelos, Ramón, and Rocío Martínez‐Bouza. "Genomics and pharmacogenomics of dementia." CNS neuroscience & therapeutics 17.5 (2011): 566-576.