One child – DNA from two mothers?

Cloned Monkeys

Can a child have two biological mothers?

Logically, one would immediately say “NO!” but the Washington Post reported that a lab in Oregon has accomplished this feat with rhesus monkeys. The article states,

Scientists have produced monkeys with genetic material from two mothers…. Using cloning-related techniques, the researchers developed a way to replace most of the genes in the eggs of one rhesus macaque monkey with genes from another monkey. They then fertilized the eggs with sperm, transferred the resulting embryos into animals’ wombs and produced four apparently healthy offspring.

Maggie Fox, Health & Science Editor for Reuters reported,

Shoukhrat Mitalipov and colleagues at Oregon Health & Science University said they used skin cells from monkeys to create cloned embryos, and then extracted embryonic stem cells from these days-old embryos.

What are the potential developments from such experiments? The site Outlook Series quoted Mitalipov as saying,

We believe that with the proper governmental approvals, our work can rapidly be translated into clinical trials for humans, and, eventually, approved therapies.

The Washington Post article continued…

“With this you have potentially three genetic parents,” said David Magnus, director of Stanford University’s Center for Biomedical Ethics. “This will create the potential for legal and social conflicts.”

If applied to people, the work would permanently alter genes for their future generations, violating a long-standing taboo against tinkering with the “germline” because of the chance of unforeseen consequences. Some experts worry, too, that germline genetic manipulation would give rise to a market in expensive elective genetic enhancements.

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The researchers acknowledged that the work might raise ethical questions but said those must be balanced against the potential benefits.

There was very little news coverage of this experiment. Is it a non-issue? What do YOU think? Do you think that the “potential benefits” outweigh the “ethicalĀ  questions”? TellĀ  us in the comments section below…

This entry was posted in Encouragement, Ethics, Others, Profound Issues and tagged , , , , , by Ray. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ray

Ray Waldo is a retired pastor with a passion for sharing knowledge, understanding and (if possible), wisdom with everyone he meets. Prior to his retirement, Ray served as a local pastor and teacher to five different churches in two states. He also served as a short-term missionary, teacher, and crusade speaker to groups in Mexico, Kenya, Uganda & the Democratic Republic of Congo (while Congo was still in conflict). Ray is also a widely recognized teacher, writer and public speaker. He was the top-billed speaker to groups of over 10,000 people when he visited Africa. He is currently writing two books (online) that he expects to be published within the next two years.

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