Re: Genetic Engineering of Human Embryos?

Congratulations to the researchers in Oregon that recently reported on the first successful modification of the genome of a human embryo in the U.S.A..  There has been a lot said from the media about the future bringing “designer babies.”  I need to clarify that the research was in early “pre-embryos” and that none were implanted for development into true embryos or even a fetus.  Additionally, the pre-embryos used were donated human embryos for research.  As far as “designer babies” being “around the corner,”  there are laws and ethical codes that prevent U.S. clinics or labs from doing this for the purpose of procreation.  Nonetheless, I speculate that this kind of research may hopefully lead to our ability to eliminate very bad dominant diseases from families in the future.  Examples of these types of genetic problems are the Breast cancer mutations, the Lynch cancer mutation syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and Huntington’s disease.  There will be a lot of debate within our academic and government regulatory bodies as to how and which heritable disease or conditions should be treated with genetic engineering tools of the future.

Julio E. Pabon, M.D.,F.A.C.O.G.

C.E.O. , Medical and Lab director, Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida

Assistant Clinical Professor, Florida State University

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AGOG Recommends Expanded Genetic Screening

In the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology there are two committe opinions that recommend expanded carrier screening for recessive genetic disorders.  This is due to the lower costs of expanded testing in our current age of “Genomic Medicine.”  Pre-conception genetic screening gives future parents valuable information as there are currently commonly employed technologies that can prevent the birth of an affected child.  Couples have the very viable option of Pre-implantation Genetic Disease (PGD) screening of embryos through “in vitro” fertilization procedures.  The committe opinions are well written and I plan to use them as part of my informed consent process.

Julio E. Pabon, M.D. 2014
Julio E. Pabon, M.D. , F.A.C.O.G., C.E.O., Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida