POLO Babies!

Creepy or cool?  Hard to say.

Image composition by Gabi Caballero.

Creepy or cool? Hard to say.

What do you think about designer babies?  Not exactly the same as a Chanel handbag, but it could be the same. A baby with modifications to their eyes and hair color can prevent the inheritance of certain genetic diseases. This is what many British scientist have given permission to do after British House of Commons voted a 382 to 182 victory to undergo experimentation that will create a new hybrid generation.

The lifetime of a cell varies from days to years. Brain cells last the longest but are not blessed with an infinite lifetime. Once a brain cell dies it can not be regenerated. With the exception of brain cells, most all cells can be replaced after their expiration date is met. This is where problems occur. In order to replicate a cell, the DNA must also replicate, but this is not always a perfect process. There are well over 50 million cells in the body and something is bound to go wrong.

A mutation occurs when a DNA strand is obstructed during the copying process. Luckily, the body has a defense mechanism against these kind of situations, but just like all things it is not foolproof. The mutation continues to replicate itself and eventually makes its way to forming a mutated sperm or egg cell. When the parent cell reproduces, the mutation is passed onto the child who will now carry this genetic defect.

Scientists in Britain are working to prevent anomalies from being passed by removing the problem completely. With the help of one female donor and two abiding parents, scientists are able to remove a nucleus from an unhealthy mitochondria. The nucleus is then implanted into a healthy donor mitochondria; this process will not influence the child’s physical traits. The idea is to use a healthy donor mitochondria and the parents nuclei to produce an able-bodied child without illnesses such as Turner syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Down syndrome.

While the idea of an illness free world is great, there is the problem of scientists playing the role of God. Many religious institutions did not fail to voice their disgust to the approved experimentation.

Another question to consider is what are the after effects to this operation? How will the new child react to genetic interference? In future decades will this operation be limited to just genetic disease or will it expand to cosmetic purposes? We don’t have the answers today, but because British scientists have been given the clear we will soon.


ALERT: Ralph Lauren isn’t really designing babies.