Germinal Choice Technology
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Germinal Choice Technology
Germinal choice technology refers to a set of reprogenetic technologies which currently or are expected to in the future allow parents to influence the genetic constitutions of their children. This could be done through genetic screening of blastocysts (early embryos), or through germline engineering, which refers to human genetic engineering used to alter genes in the first cells of the blastocyst. Germline engineering changes the genes in a sperm or an egg, which impacts all future DNA of every cell in the embryo. The philosophical movement associated with this technology is transhumanism.
Screening technologies have been in use since at least the mid 1990s to reduce the incidence of genetic disorders, and what can be tested for were expected to become increasingly sophisticated in the early 2010s. Maturation in these fields would increase the range and sophistication of decisions open to parents. Germline engineering and even the engineering of human artificial chromosomes (which presently allow increased reliability) are presently being done in animals. Chinese scientists reported in 2015 that they had modified the genomes of non-viable human embryos, Fredreik Lanner, a Swedish scientist, was reported in 2016 to have modified the genomes of healthy human embryos which were destroyed before they were 14 days old and British scientists in 2016 received permission to edit genes in human embryos which were to be destroyed after seven days. Geert Hamer at the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam forecast in 2016 that correcting the genetic mutations that cause male infertility could be achieved in five to ten years. This had already been done in mice and, if successful in humans, could be the first case of germline engineering.
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