Scientists have made a huge breakthrough after they successfully freed faulty DNA from a human embryo for the first time.
The removed faulty DNA – which causes deadly heart disease to run in families, ‘potentially opens the door to preventing 10,000 disorders’ that are passed down, writes the BBC.
The team of scientists from the U.S. and South Korea allowed the embryos to develop for just five days before stopping the experiment and said there was no intention of implanting them to create a pregnancy.
The teams focused their research on a specific heart disease – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a common disorder which affects one in 500 people.
The disease is caused by ‘an error in a single gene’ and anyone carrying it has a 50/50 chance of passing it on to their children, according to the BBC.
The research has become the centre of debate – some think it’s an exciting step forward in medicine while others are questioning whether or not it is ‘morally right’.
Darren Griffin, a professor of genetics at the University of Kent said:
Perhaps the biggest question and probably the one that will be debated the most, is whether we should be physically altering the genes of an IVF embryo at all.
This is not a straightforward question… equally, the debate on how morally acceptable it is not to act when we have the technology to prevent these life-threatening diseases must also come into play.
The debate rages on…