In 2003, scientists completed the mapping of the entire human genome. Understanding a human’s genetic makeup allows for all sorts of possibilities, like the cure for diseases. The first use of IVF treatment in 1978, allowed for the prescreening for certain diseases. For example, nowadays the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows for the detection of cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, and hemophilia A. This is only the beginning; soon enough parents will be able to pick specific traits that they want passed down. One method of doing this is called germline gene therapy.
This means manipulating the genes of the germ line cells, which include the sperm, the egg, or the early embryo. In 1999, a TIME magazine article coined the term “designer baby” when they featured a family who in 1996 use PGD to pick an embryo for a certain gender vs. it’s lack of disease.
In 1994, The Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs approved the use of genetic selection for the cure or prevention of specific diseases but the selection for benign characteristics is not ethical. The fact is, is that we do not know what “curing” certain diseases really means. Perhaps certain diseases and illness’s prevent the occurrence of others; we see this in sickle cell patients being immune from malaria.
Besides the medical aspect, the social aspect is also an issue. Given the relatively high cost of the treatments as is, it can be assumed that only high socioeconomic families could afford to create “designer babies” creating a bigger class difference then already exists. The Nazi’s also wanted to create a master race; we fought against them then, so why would we want to follow in their footsteps.
Ly, Sarah, "Ethics of Designer Babies". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2011-03-31). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/2088.
MRSA or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is a bacterium that is resistant to many of the antibiotics that doctors currently have in their arsenal. Some infections caused by MRSA are mild skin infections; others are more serious infections like surgical wound infections or bacteria present in the bloodstream, and are generally acquired in the hospital. With the use of the same antibiotics to treat garden-variety staphylococcal infections for decades, certain strains, like MRSA, have become resistant to the antibiotics we use to treat. First discovered in 1961, MRSA is currently resistant to methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin, as well as many others. While there are antibiotics that are still able to treat it, they are used with extreme caution not just for their side effects, but for the risk of the bacteria adapting to its presence. Scientists are having trouble developing new antibiotics to keep up with the ever-changing genome of the bacteria.
The Food and Drug administration (FDA) has only approved one antibiotic since 2010, and few are in the process for approval. This is a major threat in the treatment of infections, because MRSA is not the only bacterium that is resistant to bacteria. Strains of gonorrhea and tuberculosis are increasingly resistant to the treatment options that we currently have; if this trend continues more bacteria will become resistant leading to the creation of super bugs, and our arsenal of medications will not be able to treat patients infected by these bacteria. Governments around the world need to understand the threat that their population is under, and fund scientific studies for the development of new antibiotics. I am personally interested in this topic because as the population gets older and more people are admitted into hospitals, more people will die because they will become infected with drug resistant bacteria.
Understanding MRSA infection- the basics. WebMD. Reviewed on 18 April, 2012. Accessed on: September 17 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-mrsa-methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus