According to Cloning Pioneer Dr Tony Perry, precise DNA editing has become possible in conceiving mice. He claims that in two years, the world could see the first population fo designer babies.
Dr Perry’s team was part of the first teams to clone the first mice and pigs. He said that the idea of designer babies was still in its early stages, but scientific technology is making it possible.
Dr Perry said “We used a pair of molecular scissors and a molecular sat-nav that tells the scissors where to cut. It is approaching 100% efficiency already, it’s a case of ‘you shoot you score’.”
Crispr Technology, as it was termed, was named as one of the top breakthroughs in 2013. Many acclaimed the technology as the first cornerstone in the new era of genetics. It is now in use in a wide-range of experiments in many specialist laboratories.
While DNA editing and testing has been effectively used on mice, Dr Perry said that researchers need to be very cautious when it comes to working with humans.
“On the human side, one has to be very cautious.
“There are heritable diseases coded by mutations in DNA and some people could say, ‘I don’t want my children to have these mutations.'”
This includes conditions such as cystic fibrosis and genes that increase the risk of cancer.
“There’s much speculation here, but it’s not completely fanciful, this is not HG Wells, you can imagine people doing this soon [in animals].
“At that time the HFEA [the UK's fertility regulator] will need to be prepared because they’re going to have to deal with this issue.”