genetically modified

World’s first genetically modified babies born

The world’s first genetically modified humans have been created, it was revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found

to contain genes from three ‘parents’.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.

The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring.

Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.

Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.

Some experts severely criticised the experiments.

Lord Winston, of the Hammersmith Hospital in West London, told the BBC yesterday: ‘Regarding the treat-ment of the infertile, there is no evidence that this technique is worth doing . . . I am very surprised that it was even carried out at this stage. It would certainly not be allowed in Britain.’

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: ‘One has tremendous sympathy for couples who suffer infertility problems. But this seems to be a further illustration of the fact that the whole process of in vitro fertilisation as a means of conceiving babies leads to babies being regarded as objects on a production line.

‘It is a further and very worrying step down the wrong road for humanity.’

Professor Cohen and his colleagues diagnosed that the women were infertile because they had defects in tiny structures in their egg cells, called mitochondria.

They took eggs from donors and, using a fine needle, sucked some of the internal material – containing ‘healthy’ mitochondria – and injected it into eggs from the women wanting to conceive.

Because mitochondria contain genes, the babies resulting from the treatment have inherited DNA from both women. These genes can now be passed down the germline along the maternal line.

A spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates ‘assisted reproduction’ technology in Britain, said that it would not license the technique here because it involved altering the germline.

Jacques Cohen is regarded as a brilliant but controversial scientist who has pushed the boundaries of assisted reproduction technologies.

He developed a technique which allows infertile men to have their own children, by injecting sperm DNA straight into the egg in the lab.

Prior to this, only infertile women were able to conceive using IVF.

Last year, Professor Cohen said that his expertise would allow him to clone children –a prospect treated with horror by the mainstream scientific community.

‘It would be an afternoon’s work for one of my students,’ he said, adding that he had been approached by ‘at least three’ individuals wishing to create a cloned child, but had turned down their requests.

via:  dailymail
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115 thoughts on “World’s first genetically modified babies born”

      1. Yeah, in the unknown with ourselves. We don’t even know where we come from and we are now smart enough to play with that. That’s like drinking a substance you find the lab, but have no idea what it is. I might get smarter and stronger or maybe my head will explode. Really exciting!

        1. I agree with the first comment. We don’t know where we come from. There is still so much we don’t know, but still, I find this exciting. Finally something different will happen with the world. Mind you, it will probably end in disaster if super humans are created.

  1. So, people are actually against this? Who cares, we live in the year TWO THOUSAND AND FOURTEEN!!!!! WAKE UP! WE LIVE IN AN INSANE FUTURE WORLD!!!! Let them mess with DNA, the worst it could do is make people….SMARTER??? WOW WHAT A HORRIBLE ETHICAL IDEA!

    1. Story time:

      It’ll start out expensive. Only the rich will be able to afford it. Only the rich will have children vastly smarter and stronger than non-modified children. Now there is a new class of human. Then the treatment comes down in price, and more can afford it. Well, why would anyone choose NOT to genetically modify their child? After all, they’d be at an enormous disadvantage in life otherwise. So then the human species all has an IQ over 200 and are capable of very many things.

      But smart people get bored. And who is going do other jobs? Scientists can only be scientists because there are other people to clean up after them, to build roads, to drive trains etc. Highly intelligent people won’t wanna do that.

      It’ll be like playing rock, paper, scissors. Overtime, every child born is as smart as the rest. As strong as the rest. The same. It’s like playing rock, paper, scissors, but you can only pick rock. Like humans don’t need to be fit, so we get fat. Which is fine, until you’re crossing the road one day and a car comes speeding toward you. You need variety.

      1. I liked where your story was going. Might I add … When everyone is very smart and do not wish to conduct menial tasks such as building roads, picking up trash , etc. they will in turn invent robots that could be tailored to complete the undesireable tasks. Pretty soon the robots will prepare food, watch children, drive buses ,etc.

        1. Yes,however we need all those low-ranking jobs for people to work and earn their leaving. If we eliminate all those jobs by replacing real people with robots what is our huge world population will do?How 60-70% of our country will earn their food?

          1. Maybe, horror of horrors, people in that future will not have to AFFORD anything? What if it is all provided free of charge because it is all automated and powered by the sun/geothermal/waves?

      2. So we just add in some agility and strength attributes to keep them fit and cut out all of the negative attributes in the DNA. Now we have super smart, super fit, gorgeous people all around the world and by this point in time you and I will be dead and robots can build the damn roads and work the odd jobs that we don’t want to do. Problem solved :)

      3. If everyone had an IQ over 200, which there have been only a few in history that have, I’m pretty sure we would have robots, VI (because I’ve seen enough sci-fi to know that nobody wants AI), colonies on other planets, interstellar travel, all in the blink of an eye. Nobody would be the janitor of anything.

        Or we would nuke ourselves into oblivion led by super-geniuses who are raised in religions or ideologies that hate each other. One of the two.

      4. If you haven’t read “A Brave New World”. It is one persons idea of the existence you describe and a really good book.

        True, if we unlock this Pandoras box there is no telling what will happen to us here now, or the future species we create. Looking back to prehistoric man doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the existence of everyone currently alive at its most pessimistic.

        On the other hand perhaps we would be able to clone ourselves and change things we dont like, then transfer our consciousness to the cloned you. Essentially allowing you to live forever and you can upgrade yourself.. Cost could be a factor yes, if the molecular assembler comes to fruition there will be no need for money..

        One way gets us all what we have already, the other will get us either riches or ruin. Its a gamble either way. I would side with technology.

    2. Well the worst thing I can imagine, not being a genetic scientist myself, is that 30 human lives could be permanently damaged in any random array of degrees, in manifestation and severity. Some could have skin problems, and others could have limbs fall off. A small price to pay for the ability to genetically manipulate the human race is the argument it seems

      1. Let’s focus on the positives. They have successfully altered human DNA with no foreseeable consequence. None of the above mentioned has taken place. Why limit ourselves with fear? We would never discover anything or reach any new heights.

      2. I haven’t actually spent a lot of time considering where my views fall as far as genetically modified anything (this includes foods, cloned animals, humans, etc.) but I will point out that there are a lot of people out there who already have horrific skin problems, and people have to have limbs amputated for issues like diabetes, etc. I do see the point you are making, but its not like every baby born currently is healthy. The converse to this is that 30 human lives could not be plagued by anything worse than anything else that an average human experiences. It is something to watch, especially when they hit puberty. We will all know more in about 12 years.

    3. Are you slow?

      Can you not imagine any bad scenarios that would arise when only SOME PEOPLE can genetically modify their children to be smarter/stronger/etc?

      Soon only wealthy people who can afford to dish out thousands/millions to turn their kids into guarenteed super humans?

      shit this is like science fiction 101

      designing super babies is not going to be a pretty thing for the world. Eventually/hopefully when the world gets it’s stuff together it would be nice to manually evolve the human race. But when only certain people can modify their babies…not great

    4. Hopefully one of the first uses of this technology will be to weed out the type of clown who can’t write a couple of sentences without spamming the caps lock.

    5. I will refrain from going into ALL the valid arguments against this, but I’ll go with the main one: the point is, we don’t know what this could do to the human race or the planet.

      Everything in nature is held in a fine balance, the tiniest disturbance of which could throw off the ecosystem in unforeseen ways. That’s why we do NOT want to release GMO crops and animals into the wild– messing with the DNA of our own species is asking for trouble.

      Even if we just experimented with creating GMO humans (like we are here), what if we did realize we made a mistake sometime down the road? How do we fix it? KILLING the people we “made”? That’s hardly ethical.

      I understand the benefits… but the risks do not outweigh the potential gain. Not worth it.

      1. Exactly.

        Plus, are we forgetting these are humans here? This is a life, not a toy to experiment on. None of these children signed their life off to this. Completely unethical.

      2. God bless you Mr Sam. It’s not just wrong to modify the DNA, it’s also a terrible sin to do that. What God has created is beautiful and perfect. Trying to mess with it is to bring catastrophe upon ourselves.

    6. Smarter is great. But the issue here is the concern that normal humans will be treated as inferior by these new genetically enhanced people.

    7. That’s the best it could do. Imagine a child with vastly different genes that could pick up and carry over disease that normally cant make the cross to humans. Bubonic plague and spanish flu could be common cold in comparison.

      1. Speaking of souls i have a question, since humans took the liberty upon themselves to play God, I am quite concerned about whether or not these genetically modified children have souls. I would be scared of the outcome if they don’t. what are your thoughts? I would like to know.

    8. Ok science works in a wave pattern. We can learn how to do something but it takes a degree of trial and error. The ethical question comes from creating people who are genetically different who may or may not be “better”. Now operationally define “better”. You now have the most controversial argument ever because even the people that are interested in the application of this science wont agree on what the ethical practices of the science are. And then you have all the people that are against you.

    1. Other than your personal concern and worry, can you point to an actual harm or injury that has been caused by this? Because I don’t see anything solid problems here except other people’s fears and apprehensions.

  2. .THIS is Part of the END. SMARTER? /U cant PREDICT OR CONCIEVE THE “Worst”./after what % of TINKERING are they No LONGER HUMAN. SO/ “human rights” WONT APPLY. BREED SOLDIERS. WORKER BEES. Sex Toys? monsters/ this way lies madness.evil.

    1. Agreed. We need better parents not altered children. Anyway intelligence is not genetic. The brain is connected through synapse, read about Glenn Doman’s work, brains are developed like muscles, all babies have the same potential .

  3. Are you guys being serious??? This is ridiculous. This defeats the purpose of being able to even produce children….and who do you think you are trying to alter the human race…do you think everyone agrees with this madness?? Creating a human life is beautiful and is created from two beings and should stay how God intended not because of the garbage experiments you pull. Life and loving and living should not be altered and I’m sure it will backfire on the idiot scientist conducting these test and experiments leaving the human race to suffer! We are human beings not experiments!

    1. … please understand that NOT EVERYONE CAN CONCEIVE, so it is not that they “choose” to have kids naturally or have kids this way… it is because they CAN’T have kids naturally…

      No one wants to alter human race, they are helping people make their dreams of becoming parents come true…

      God gave us a way of having children that not everyone is lucky to experience, and that’s why God gave scientist the ability to create these technologies to help people conceive children to love…

      Of course not everyone agrees with this… not everyone was agree when the first train was invented, or when the first TV was built, or some medicines used for the first time, remember what happened to Galileo!… so it is a process, which sounds scary at the beginning, but sooner or later will become a daily situation… the bad thing happens when this end in bad people’s hands and try to use this as an advantage for evil plans…

      I really hope you never have problems conceiving children, because if that happens, then you will experience suffering, and you would do anyhting… ANYTHING to have one.

      1. As to your third paragraph, did you ever think that maybe, perhaps, God didn’t intend for those people to have children? Maybe his plan for them was to adopt some kid that’s parent’s died in a horrible accident, or a kid who was born to a teenager and the best life for him is to be adopted by a set of parents who couldn’t have kids themselves but were able to adopt. So they could adopt and raise this kid up to be great, have a good education, become an entrepeneur, etc. But instead some scientist comes in and plays at being God and gives this couple a kid, and now that poor child that needed to be adopted – doesn’t get a home, and he grows up mistreated in foster homes and never getting a real education.

        Just one of many situations to think about.

        Also what happens when something goes wrong with one of these genetically modified kids. As they mature some horrible side effect to the modification process shows up. What do you do with the kid? The scientists will have to spend years and thousands of tax dollars on “fixing” something that they caused and that’s money that could be going to so many other issues that are occurring in the world. Why cause another one?

        1. Ok…JessO. How about this, then? My son has an extremely rare and 100% fatal disease. He. Will. Die. From. It. This disease causes bone marrow failure. Often, children with this disease don’t live past their 30s. Many suffer physical abnormalities. My son has no thumbs, only one kidney and stunted growth and development. My son has Fanconi Anemia. Look it up. It’s a horrible disease that I would never wish upon anyone’s baby. If god is so perfect, why did he give my baby this disease? My husband and I have gone into debt to ensure he has a chance at a somewhat normal life. one option we explored was in vitro fertilization with PGD. Essentially, we were trying to have a baby who would be a perfect match for our son to give him stem cells that would help his bone marrow produce healthy cells. Our son was going into bone marrow failure and we were running out of time. Fortunately, the doctors found a match on the registry. But what if they hadn’t? Scientists exist to help make the world a better place. Sometimes they make poor choices. But I don’t think that genetic modification for the benefit of other humans and the rest of humanity is such a terrible thing like you describe.

      2. ^Children are a GIFT from God, and are not meant to be selfishly “designed” via science. This separates the intention of the bonding love between husband and wife that creates children. All else is deception.
        To be open to life is beautiful, yet not all can conceive. God’s ways are not our ways. Trust God! He loves us!

  4. I think this is an amazing idea for those who can’t concieve the only thing they are doing is using the mitochondria to help the structure of the egg. But to pick and choose what traights a baby has, is a different story. Going beyond helping woman concieve would be in a way wrong. We need diversity for the human race to work. Not “perfect” beings.

  5. You negative commenters are rude. These babies are still human. They are just different! Some babies have extra chromosomes, these babies have an extra gene . don’t be so critical and rude. Those babies will one day be old enough to read your comments. Don’t teach bullying!

    1. Hi Ashley. You are correct. Just one minor correction, the original erroneous article is not from 2010, but 2001. It was published in the Daily Mail.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-43767/Worlds-GM-babies-born.html
      There is no date stamp on the article but on the web page. Readers may interpret this wrongly and so the date reverts every day to the current date. This means that bloggers or journalists in a hurry, who come across the Daily Mail page, may inadvertently quote or copy it as today’s news.

      Problem solved I hope. Not just old news, but poorly investigated with a touch of plagiarism.

      Best,
      Johnny

  6. This is great news. I would like to have a human playtoy that is modified to age rapidly (progeria), have very abnormally large breasts (macromastia), and doesn’t say a word (mutism). If I can order in bulk this would be even better. Please contact me with any information.. I pay in Euro or Dollar

  7. Geneticists HOPE that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.

    Fixed that for you.

  8. I, Hitler, am happy to hear this news.

    Children born with standard (subpar) intelligence, should stand aside.

    Bring on the fourth reich!

  9. No one’s DNA was changed here. The egg’s malfunctioning mitochondria was replaced with working mitochondria. And this is 15 year old news. Seriously, Google it. It happened 15 years ago.

  10. Mitochondrial DNA is not genetics the experiment referenced was done over a decade ago. Mitochondria have no bearing on chromosomes or any traits whatsoever.

    1. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an inherited trait as a result of the genetic structure of the mother’s mitochondrial DNA. Supplanting mitochondria absent of this flaw could do away with the disease. Do your homework before you post next time.

  11. > Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.

    What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t that be our goal?

  12. Aren’t people taking Gattaca a little too seriously? This isn’t really all that different from gene therapy, the desired outcome is the same.

  13. I believe it’s important that the identity of these children remain unknown until they reach adulthood.

    I wish them long and prosperous lives. I sure wish I could have been given a gift like this.

  14. Whenever babies are manipulated to produce certain characteristics, we are in effect saying that the opposite characteristic is undesirable. So cloning/ genetically modifying for physical strength, for example, is saying that those who aren’t strong physically are undesirable. How many wonderful people in this world fit into that category of being physically not strong? What would happen to them in this Brave New World to come? What happens when it’s my physical characteristics that are undesirable? I don’t want any part of it.

    1. I am part of those physically weak people… And I really wish my parents had the opportunity to fix that.

      Not only because because it would have made me more desirable, but because strength is an obvious advantage by itself. As is intelligence and healthiness. If we could increase those characteristics in our children it would be beneficial for all -especially those who don’t have those qualities naturally.

      “Whenever babies are manipulated to produce certain characteristics, we are in effect saying that the opposite characteristic is undesirable”. Indeed, but there is a big difference between freeing someone from some defects and discriminating against them. Does the research for an AIDS cure constitute a discrimination against those who have it ? Of course not. Oh, and also, people don’t need biology to despise the weak. I’ve suffered that. But, strangely, nobody cares when we’re not talking about genetic engineering.

  15. please STOP writing articles about science. you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. you’re using dailymail as your source, for chrissake!! the level of ignorance is astounding.

  16. From the article, this scientist is just injecting working mitochondria into the egg cells. They are not splicing in additional genes. They are just giving them a working copy of an organelle.
    I guess you could call that genetic engineering as the mitochondria has a genome of its own, but they are not actually making changes to the human chromosomes. Sure, it will let the cells process sugar like a normal person’s cell, but it’s only an improvement because the original mitochondria was defective.
    Still cool, but it nothing like “this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence” as the article says. It just lets them process sugar like a normal cell and stay alive.

    For the direct article that this news is talking about, here is the source: http://molehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/4/3/269.short

  17. Oh my! I must admit I have not researched anything relating to ‘animal’ testing that [may have] been completed prior to experimentation on humans (note: I am not one for animal testing but concede the current socially accepted ‘need’), but it would seem there wouldn’t have been time for enough. I would propose that testing through generations of genetically altered individuals would be an absolute ‘no brainer’. How are we to know or even theorize what is to happen once a genetically altered human being reproduces…when we start compounding the germlines in multiples of 3…it seems it could get really hairy (no pun intended) very quickly. To present the extreme, at what point do babies start coming out as piles of genetic goo.

  18. Oh my! I must admit I have not researched anything relating to ‘animal’ testing any party may have completed prior to experimentation on humans (note: I am not one for animal testing but concede the current socially accepted ‘need’), but it would seem there couldn’t have been time for enough.

    I would propose that testing through generations of genetically altered [individuals] would be an absolute ‘no brainer’. How are we to know or even theorize what is to happen once a genetically altered human being reproduces…when we start compounding the germlines in multiples of 3…it seems it could get really hairy (no pun intended) very quickly.

    To present the extreme, at what point do babies start coming out as piles of genetic goo?

  19. Have none of y’all watched the new Superman “Man Of Steel” movie for Christ sake? 3 words…….
    Governmental Population Control
    All children were conceived in freaking birthing pods and genetically designed for a specific role in society (soldier, worker, doctor, etc.) ergo eliminating and outlawing the intercourse between man and woman to conceive children. FFS PEOPLE! Instead of attempting this crap to see if it can be done or to be the first to do it successfully; take a step back and ask yourselves “What could the worst possible outcomes be from completing such an experiment?”

    Answer: LOSS OF CHOICE, INDIVIDUALITY, & FREEDOM GIVING TOTAL CONTROL TO THE GOVORNMENT AND THE WEALTHY!

    No more William Shakespeare’s or Leonardo DaVinci’s EVER again. Sad day for humanity.

    SMH

  20. We aren’t going to make a super race with this. Why? Because, this is not a science fiction movie, this technology won’t prevent or bring down the number of unplanned conceptions in any of the classes and too many people would be against it. What are we going to do with this technology? Create physically healthier people. That is the only use that will end up being authorized. Creating smarter people – which is based on multiple things like experiences, education, personal preferences and genetics – would be impossible due to the unlimited amount of and combinations of genes that would need to be experimented with and identified to achieve this.

  21. this is not GMO, this is three person IVF:

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jun/28/uk-government-ivf-dna-three-people

    not quite sure why the daily mail is claiming this to be the first instance of this happening, mitochondrial transfers (3 person IVF) has been going on for awhile, and the British government has backed it (as opposed to what this article is suggesting).

    Am I missing something here? Maybe this is just the first instance in the States?

    Felix.

  22. Actually they replaced malfunctioning mitochondria. Mitochondria has its own DNA because it was once a free living cell that a long time ago was incorporated into all multicellular organisms. Mitochondria DNA has nothing to do with our genetic makeup, our chromosomes, or any traits. Plus this happened like in 2001, many news sites will rehash old news, studies, and scientific data because people don’t know the difference.

  23. say you had a child but it was killed in an accident..cloning it..it wouldn’t be the exact same child, but having the option would sure make a lot of parents who had lost children very happy.

  24. Everyone is worrying about artificial genetic inequalites but no one is worrying about NATURAL genetic inequalities. Exceptionnaly tall, strong, healthy and intelligent people already exists and we all discriminate against those who do not share those characteristics because “they are natural”. Of course now it’s more a grandient than a clear divide between the “genetically rich” and the “genetically poor” but that doesn’t change anything. I do not say that artificial genetic inequalities are more desirable, I’m just pointing out that almost everyone holds a double standard on this subject. If you care about artificial inequalities, then you must also care about natural ones. Ironically, genetic choice could – and should – be used to reduce natural inequalities and level up our genome.

    Why fearing the rise of a “genobourgeoisie” but not the alleged existence of a “genobility” ?

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